Friday, February 28, 2014

Ten Wilderness Facts

1. There are 757 wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
2. The state with the most wilderness areas is California (149).
3. These states have no federally designated wilderness: CT, DE, IA, KS, MD and RI
4. While the Forest Service manages more wilderness areas, the National Park Service manages more acres of wilderness.
5. The newest wilderness is the Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness (CA), designated in January of 2011.
6. Yellowstone National Park (WY) contains no federally designated wilderness.
7. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail travels through 21 designated wildernesses.
8. Pt. Reyes National Seashore (CA) has more than twice as much designated wilderness than all of the other National Seashores combined.
9. Half of all wilderness areas are within a day's drive of America's 30 largest cities.
10. In addition to federally designated wilderness areas, seven states have state wilderness systems: AK, CA, MD, MI, MS, NY and WI.

Friday, February 14, 2014

WV Presentation at the Richmond - Short Pump VA REI Feb. 18th

 From the REI Event calendar: 

Ever wonder who maintains and builds those trails you hike on? Who clears the fallen trees and brush, keeps invasive plant species at bay, or revegetates habitat and transforms those muddy, washed out sections of trail into navigable and inviting footpaths? People just like you - on service trips with Wilderness Volunteers. And we want you to come join us! A national nonprofit founded in 1997, Wilderness Volunteers partners with national and local organizations to organize and promote volunteer service projects that would go undone without volunteer support. Wilderness Volunteers runs 50 week-long service trips each year throughout our national parks, forests, and wilderness areas. In just one year, our volunteers donated more than 15,000 hours of work, collectively maintaining and building over 70 miles of trails, planting more than 13,000 plants, moving more than 70 tons of rock, and removing miles of fencing and thousands of invasive weeds. Stop by to learn what it's like to spend a week "Giving Something Back" in some of the country's most beautiful places and learn how you can join us on one of our projects, which run from March to October.

February 18, 2014
6:30 PM

Richmond Short-Pump REI Store

2020 Old Brick Rd
Glen Allen, VA 23060

(804) 360-1381

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Let's Celebrate Wilderness! 4

Howard Zahniser
The founders of the Wilderness Society knew that the the early wilderness areas didn't have adequate protections as it was relatively easy to reverse the administrative acts that created them. They knew that it would take stronger legal action on the federal level and began to craft legislation to accomplish this. Howard Zahniser became the executive director of The Wilderness Society in 1945 and went on to write 66 drafts of the Wilderness Act. The Act went through 18 Congressional hearings between 1956 and 1964, opposed by such industry giants as the American Mining Association, the American Pulpwood Association and the National Cattleman's Association.

President John F. Kennedy endorsed the wilderness bill in 1961, and the Senate approved the Zahniser drafted bill that year, but the House radically altered their version of the bill and it died in committee that year. Howard Zahniser worked with the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee chair Wayne Aspinall (D-CO), one of the chief opponents of the bill, and other House representatives and eventually agreed to enough concessions to get The Wilderness Act of 1964 through both the House and Senate.

President Lyndon Johnson hands the pen he used to sign
the Wilderness Act of 1964 to Alice Zahniser. Also pictured
are Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Senator Frank Church
Mardy Muire, and Rep. Wayne Aspinall, among others.
President Lyndon Johnson signed the Act on September 3, 1964. Unfortunately, Howard Zahniser, who worked so hard to make the Act reality, didn't get to see it finally enacted; he died in May of 1964 at the age of 58. President Johnson gave the pen he used to sign the act to Alice Zahniser, Howard's wife.

The Wilderness Act established the United States' National Wilderness Preservation System which permanently protects these federal public lands for future generations for both people and wildlife. There have been more than 100 separate Wilderness bills signed into law since 1964, designating approximately 107,500,000 acres of land as Wilderness. This is about 4.82% of the country, however, a little more than 50% of this Wilderness is in Alaska. The smallest Wilderness Area is Pelican Island, FL, at about 5 acres, and the largest is Wrangell-St Elias in Alaska at 9,078,675 acres.