University Launches Website to Celebrate Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary

By Beacon Staff

The Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana and Wilderness50 recently launched a website dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

The 50th Anniversary National Wilderness Planning Team, also known as Wilderness50, will collaborate on the planning and eventual implementation of local, regional and national events and projects specifically designed to elevate the profile of wilderness during the 50th anniversary celebration.

“Having a website of its own will give Wilderness50 and all the exciting preparations for the 50th anniversary of our wilderness system a much more immediate and vibrant appeal to folks around the country,” said Vicky Hoover, Wilderness50 co-chair and longtime wilderness advocate and volunteer.

UM’s Wilderness Institute is one of 25 nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and government agencies that comprise Wilderness50 and are charged with raising public awareness of wilderness and engaging youth during 2014, the 50th anniversary year.

Housed within UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation, the Wilderness Institute was established in 1975 to provide wilderness information, research and interdisciplinary education.

“The Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary is a really key moment in history when we can make the public and students more aware of the many social and ecological values of wilderness,” said Lisa Eidson, wilderness information specialist at UM’s Wilderness Institute. “Here at UM, we are preparing future land managers and wilderness stewards for what they might face in the next 50 years.”

The general public is invited to sign up for key updates by visiting http://www.wilderness50th.org and entering their email address on the home page.

Our nation’s wilderness system was established in 1964 for the use and enjoyment of the American people and provides many direct and indirect benefits, such as those relating to ecological, geological, scientific, educational, scenic, spiritual, economic, recreational, historical and cultural uses and activities. The 758 wilderness areas that exist today are managed by all four federal land-managing agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and National Park Service.

For more information about Wilderness50 visit http://www.wilderness50th or follow on Facebook and Twitter. For more information on the Wilderness Institute at UM’s involvement in Wilderness50, call Eidson at 406-396-3607 or email [email protected].

The website honors 50 years of preservation and enjoyment of wilderness by:

Cataloging all local, regional and national 50th anniversary events, meetings, programs, and projects dedicated to raising awareness of wilderness occurring between now and 2014. As event planning escalates this year, event hosts and organizers are encouraged to enter their events onto the map and calendar.

Providing resources and materials for people and organizations interested in hosting or organizing 50th anniversary local community events. Possible events can include Walks for Wilderness; outings and service trips; museum, airport or visitor center exhibits; speakers; interpretive programs; trainings or workshops; photography or writing contests; art shows; music or dance programs; book or poetry readings; stewardship projects and more.

Providing information about the National Wilderness Conference, to be held Oct. 15-19, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M. This event will be Wilderness50’s premier forum for discussing the growing challenges of perpetuating the values of wilderness in a time of unprecedented environmental and social change.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.