Dr. Max Geier
The topic of the paper is wilderness and the idea of wilderness. The introduction presents an outline of the concept of wilderness in the American West, with particular attention to the role of the government in defining wilderness. The relationship of John Muir with the Roosevelt administration is described in reference to the city of San Francisco and its successful requisitioning of the Hetch Hetchy watershed. The argument is made that although an ideal of wilderness devoid of human contact has been promoted by preservationists, the role of humans play in the realm of wilderness cannot be discounted. Attempts to segregate wilderness and human activity, although intended to protect diversity of life, have in fact been part of a project which essentially and ultimately has led to environmental degradation and diminishing diversity. Traditional concepts of wilderness must be modified, incorporating more human participation, if the trends toward increasing degradation and diminishing diversity is to be slowed. Monumental projects reintroducing modern society to the biosphere must be launched in order to move beyond wilderness.
Morton, Duke. “ Beyond Wilderness.” Paper presented at the Phi Alpha Theta Pacific Northwest Regional Conference, Spokane, Washington, April 12-14, 2012.