The Enduring Wilderness by Doug Scott is a book that focuses on the importance of wilderness preservation and the need to protect natural resources.
The book highlights the 1964 Wilderness Act, which designated 9.1 million acres as wilderness and laid out a “long-term study process for additional designations.”
The author emphasizes that simply designating an area as wilderness does not assure its preservation. An understanding of wilderness values needs to guide all activities in wilderness, including grazing, access to private lands, mining, fish and wildlife, cultural sites, fire management, and insects and disease.
The book also discusses the history of wilderness preservation in North America, specifically in the United States, and how the concept of conserving the vestiges of wild North America has evolved culturally, politically, and legally.
The main themes of the book are the importance of wilderness preservation, the need to protect natural resources, and the challenges faced in preserving wilderness areas. The author emphasizes the need for education, experience, and skill development to manage wilderness as an enduring resource. The book also highlights the spiritual benefits of wilderness and promotes a desire to work assertively to protect wilderness values for future generations.
What I Liked
This was one of the most eye-opening and useful books that I read in 2020. It was recommended to me by Brad Borst, the President of Wilderness Land Trust, one of the most effective non-profits in America IMHO. This book is slightly academic, but details the grassroots, political, and legal strategies behind America’s Wilderness Act – a world-changing first in the world just like our idea for National Parks. Amazing read, and highly recommended for anyone looking to get involved in the conservation movement. It gave me a small idea of what consistent, dedicated individuals can do over the course of their lifetimes.
I loved learning about the highly tactical politics of pushing a long-term bill like the Wilderness Bill through the US Congress. I also learned the deep tradeoffs and difficult strategy to plan and pull off anything truly history-making. It’s easy to sound off on what Congress should or shouldn’t do. But props to people like Doug Scott and Howard Zahniser (and thousands of anonymous individuals) who spent their entire lives checking in on individual Congressmen over the course of decades to get something like the Wilderness Bill passed.
It’s the same story behind every other historic bill – Civil Rights Bill, Voting Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid Acts, Clean Air Act Amendments, Endangered Species Act, etc.
What I Did Not Like
Not a whole lot. It is a very dense, specific topic though.