2014 is America's Wilderness Act's 50th Birthday
Sierra Club Maine is geared up to
start a very special year-long birthday celebration. The Wilderness Act turns 50
on September 3, 2014, and celebrations around the Maine and the country will
mark this major American cultural and environmental achievement. This will be
Maine’s year to “Celebrate the Wild”.
Sierra Club, other wilderness groups, and federal wilderness managing agencies
have been organizing for the 50th anniversary. In Maine, a steering committee
under the leadership of Sierra Club activist and College of the Atlantic
professor Ken Cline, have coordinated a Maine version of the national
celebration. Sierra Club Maine is taking the lead in the process. Our goal is to
expand appreciation and awareness of our natural heritage so that the public
becomes more knowledgeable and supportive about the concept and benefits of
wilderness and wild places.
In the coming months, we’ll be having celebrations, outings, and numerous other
activities in communities and wild places throughout Maine. A centerpiece of the
celebration is a special Sierra Club Maine annual dinner and gathering at the
Maple Hill Farm in Hallowell on September 5. The theme of the evening will be
celebrating Maine’s wild places. We’re especially excited about our featured
speaker, Congressman Mike Michaud, who will share his experiences as an advocate
of protecting the state’s rivers and forests and present his vision for public
land and protection of our environment if elected governor in November.
Other exciting activities include two wilderness writing workshops, a
yoga/meditation wilderness workshop, canoe trips, hikes, several film series,
and much more. For more details about Celebrate the Wild activities in Maine
Signed into law in 1964, the Wilderness Act established our National Wilderness
Preservation System. The initial 9.1 million acres set aside in 1964 have now
grown to over 100 million acres nationwide. Wilderness designation is the
strongest protection from development that our laws offer for federal public
Sierra Club has played a major role in the wilderness effort from the start. Not
only did the Club, under the leadership of the legendary David Brower, work hard
on getting the original 1964 bill passed, but volunteers in the Sierra Club
along with dedicated Club staffers have convinced Congress to add many million
acres of federal lands to the national system. At present, Maine has three
wilderness areas—the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness in the White Mountains
National Forest near Bethel and two wilderness areas in Moosehorn National
Wildlife Refuge near Calais. Designated Wilderness areas include wild places in
national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Land
Management lands. But in addition to this “big W” wilderness, there are many
places in Maine that are managed for their “wild” character—the Allagash
Wilderness Waterway, Baxter State Park, Isle au Haut in Acadia National Park,
and some of the ecological reserves on state lands as well.
The momentum of the Wilderness Act helped to foster a new mentality about the
future of our public lands and protecting natural treasures.
If you love the wilderness please be part of our celebration!
To learn more about the Wilderness Act and the national 50th anniversary
celebration check out
www.wilderness.net/50th. Or on facebook at