Mountainfilm In Telluride: Working For Wilderness

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the theme of Mountainfilm in Telluride’s 2014 Moving Mountains Symposium is “Wilderness.” Confirmed symposium presenters represent experts from diverse fields, including science, conservation, journalism, fine arts, and education, among them Vance G. Martin.

Vance Martin is a guest of Moutainfilm, speaking on Wilderness at the Moving Mountains Symposium

Vance Martin is a guest of Moutainfilm, speaking on Wilderness at the Moving Mountains Symposium

Vance Martin joined The Wild Foundation — the only international organization dedicated entirely to protecting wilderness and wild nature around the world — as president in 1984 after 15 years in international business and nonprofit management. An innovative leader known for bridging the interests of people and nature, he has worked in over 45 countries and helped to establish many nonprofits.

Martin contributed the following blog.

The United States has The Wilderness Act (1964), 50 years old this year (Happy birthday!), which enables us to protect specific Wilderness Areas legally. When the word “wilderness” is used internationally, however, it is more often a generic term, referring to a “wildland” area rather than a designated Wilderness Area. Some 10 to 11 other countries have national legislation like ours, and that number grows slowly.

The Wilderness Act continues to be a social, scientific and poetic milestone in law and policy, demonstrating that contemporary civilization is beginning to consider “What does Nature need?”

Great stuff, pioneering, but there’s a catch: The 1964 Act virtually left out the people, as demonstrated in the famous  phrase “…man is a visitor who does not remain,” so as it inspired similar laws in Australia, South Africa, etc., the erroneous impression grew (especially in the developing world) that the wilderness concept is elitist, Anglo, anti-people.

Mali Elephants

Mali Elephants

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