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Why America's wilderness matters
Why America's wilderness matters

I grew up in New York City, which is probably why I care so much about wilderness. For city kids, wild country was a novelty, not the feared adversary it was on various American frontiers. I got into it early and as often as possible, becoming one of the first whitewater river guides in the Grand Canyon and elsewhere. Still, it's hard not to conclude that, as a species, we have been lousy members of the ecological neighborhood. We've followed with a vengeance the Old Testament advice to make the crooked straight and the rough places plain. That means conquest and control, breaking the will of self-willed, or wild, land. What's left are remnants — islands in a sea of...