Is Wilderness Still Relevant?

2014 marks fifty years since the passage of the Wilderness Act, so it is a good time to reflect on the achievements this legislation made possible and also discuss the challenges faced by wilderness. One of these is finding ways to make wilderness more relevant in an increasingly diverse and technology-focused society. A panel of writers, thinkers, and advocates (David Sobel, Rue Mapp, Jimmy Gaudry, and Doug Scott) discussed these issues live with Orion staff.


  1. Thank you all for this great discussion. I would like to follow up on my question from the show. Has wilderness changed to the point that we need new stories for our contemporary interaction with it? What stories hold the most sway over our current interpretation with wilderness. Are those stories accurate, or should we be telling ourselves different stories?

  2. Each of us has wilderness stories and I feel it would not be constructive to think that there should be some master story that is somehow THE story.

    Wilderness means different things to each of us, depending on our own experiences, our own readings, our own assessment of all of our encounters with wild nature.

    I like think that all of these stories, if we could ever capture them would make a really WILD quilt, with each new person sticking together their own contribution … unique, exciting, deep.

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