The Wilderness Act: "Leaving a Glimpse of the World as It Was"

Posted by: Anne McGowan on 11/4/15 1:53 PM

As NOLS continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary across the globe, the Wilderness Act celebrates its 51st. It’s not a coincidence: NOLS founder Paul Petzoldt testified before Congress in favor of the Wilderness Act more than five decades ago. And almost six months to the day after the act’s passage, Petzoldt founded NOLS.

Embracing Wilderness

Embracing wilderness. Photo by Lindsay Yost.

As NOLS continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary across the globe, the Wilderness Act celebrates its 51st. It’s not a coincidence: NOLS founder Paul Petzoldt testified before Congress in favor of the Wilderness Act more than five decades ago. And almost six months to the day after the act’s passage, Petzoldt founded NOLS.

President of the United States Lyndon Johnson, who signed the Wilderness Act into law on September 3, 1964, after more than 60 drafts in eight years, once said this about our wild lands:

“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”

“… Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.”

As we remember the Wilderness Act, let's remember all the wonderful ways we can interact with the wild—and go do them.

Anne McGowan is the Communications Coordinator for NOLS Development.