Wild About Wilderness!
September is the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the landmark law that protects more than 100 million acres of federal land.
The BLM is responsible for 221 Wilderness Areas with 8.7 million acres in 10 Western states. These special places have been used for science and education, field trips, and student research for many years. They're also great places for recreation.
A wilderness, as described in the law, is "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled byman, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
To celebrate the wonders of wilderness, we are focusing on some great resources for exploring.
Classroom Investigation: Wilderness
We have published a new teaching guide for wilderness. The 16-page booklet uses the words of the Wilderness Act and Howard Zahniser, who was the act's main author, to explore what wilderness means and why it is important. Students are asked to imagine they are in the middle of a wilderness area and what they would see and hear, compared to what they would see and hear in their home communities. The activity is designed to address requirements of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.
To download a printable copy of the activity, select this link.
Wonder Into Wilderness
BLM Idaho has published a 32-page activity booklet on wilderness that is a great resource for students and teachers nationwide. The activities address what wilderness is, the principles of "leave no trace," and factors that put stress on wilderness areas. The guide includes activities for elementary and secondary classes. It was produced by a partnership among Project Learning Tree, Leave No Trace, and the University of Idaho. The principal author was Ross Parsons, a student tacher and recent graduate of the McCall Outdoor Science School at the University of Idaho.
To download a copy of the activity guide,select this link.
Wilderness Explorer Activity Guide
BLM’s Junior Explorer program helps introduce young explorers to the lands and resources that the BLM manages. One of the booklets is the Wilderness Explorer, is an updated version of an activity book done for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
- People and Wilderness Ideas;
- What is Wilderness?;
- Who Was Here Before?
- What Can You Do in Wilderness Areas?
To download a PDF version of the activity book, select this link . For more information about this and nearly 20 other Junior Explorers, select this link.
Wilderness Slide Show
BLM Volunteer Ben Hotchner-Blaser prepared a brief slide show of wilderness photos and descriptions of wilderness areas in ten states of the western U.S. Wilderness areas consist of rugged mountain ranges, broad valleys, wild rivers and streams, and desert plains. They include vast natural landscapes which once covered all of North America. BLM-managed wilderness areas are described in more detail on the web pages of the BLM's National Conservation Lands.
To download a PDF version of the slide show, select this link.