Conversation Starter: You Say Wilderness I Say Preservation

By Forum Online posted 11-01-2012 23:44

On the morning of November 1 the National Preservation Conference had its first Conversation Starter. Held at the historic Bing Crosby Theater You Say Wilderness, I say Preservation! Good vs. Good on Public Lands and Beyond examined the roles of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 on preservation.

Douglas W. Walker, Chairman the Wilderness Society
P.M.K. Frost, Western Environmental Law Center
Elaine L. Spencer, Graham & Dunn PC
Moderator: Brian Turner, National Trust for Historic Preservation

All three speakers spoke, using Green Mountain Lookout as an example, of how wilderness conservation and historic preservation link together. P.M.K. Frost suggested that losing these places is also a loss for our nation's heritage. Here are just a few of the questions, comments, and discussion points which emphasize both differences and commonalities.

    • Should there be some places that are absolutely inviolate?

    • There is a difference between structures that protect wilderness and those that draw people in and do further damage. The Wilderness movement is not all anti-structures.

    • At one point Walker emphasized that wilderness visitation is declining--especially with the changing demographics of the country. Having only a 97% Caucasian visitor-ship is not a sustainable model. He recognizes, much as preservationists do, the need to reach out to a more diverse audiences.

  • Can the National Historic Preservation Action criteria take greater consideration of these issues prior to listing in order to ensure that the preservation approach is tenable?

Follow the discussion through Twitter (#presconf) or get the basics with this Storify slideshow.

#Rural #PastForward #Wilderness #PublicLands

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