Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Materials Available for “The Wilderness Act at 50”

The Lewis and Clark Law School recently held a symposium to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people. In the intervening half century, Congress has added over 100 million acres to the land preservation system.
    Powerpoint presentations and video recordings of the sessions are linked from the Law School's website. The site also contains a link to the full text of the Wilderness Act. Although mostly concerned with issues of conservation, the symposium also deals with topics of more direct interest to business history, such as Bureau of Land Management policies, land use, water rights, and grazing. As Christine Rosen wrote in Environmental History nearly ten years ago, "it is essential that environmental historians join with business historians in investigating the historical interface between business and the environment. . . . not only because the subject is intrinisically interesting, but also because it promises to provide crucial insights into the origins of the mounting environmental and public health crises that loom before us."