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THE WILDERNESS ACT TURNS 40!

The Wilderness Act, conceivably the most important and deeply symbolic piece of conservation legislation, turns a robust 40 years old on September 3, 2004. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Wilderness Act was and still is visionary.

But a long planned 40th birthday celebration was cancelled by the Forest Service so that it could be held after the 2004 election! Conservation partners in planning the conference with the Forest Service jointly dropped out of the event. Rightly so! Regardless of interpretation or intent, the message from the Forest Service is overwhelmingly clear. Nonetheless, numerous Wilderness conferences will be held by conservation groups including the High Uintas Preservation Council. This year's much awaited annual September Rendezvous at Mirror Lake will focus on celebrating the joy, vision and depth of the Wilderness Act.

And for now, we want to initiate a reflection among ourselves on this remarkable piece of legislation. We'll start with reprinting an essay by Dick Carter on the Wilderness Act followed by an essay from Rob Mrowka. Rob left the Forest Service after a 27 year career in January 2003 after holding numerous positions in the national and Intermountain Regional Offices, as well as being the Forest Supervisor on the Fishlake National Forest. He now lives and works as an environmental planner in Clark County, Nevada. He was a courageous and creative Forest Supervisor, trying always to bring disparate views together to forge meaningful, ecosystem-based decisions.

These are only the beginning.

PLEASE SEND US YOUR ARTICLES, PREFERABLY A ONE PAGE WORD DOCUMENT, ON ANY ASPECT OF WILDERNESS OR THE WILDERNESS ACT, PERSONAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, OR EXPERIENTIAL, AND WE'LL BEGIN TO PUBLISH THEM THROUGHOUT 2004 AS WE CELEBRATE WILDERNESS.

These are your articles, not ours, and they represent your wild voice, not ours!

Margaret Pettis, Editor


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