wilderness


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wilderness,

land retaining its primeval character with the imprint of humans minimal or unnoticeable. In the United States, the Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System with a nucleus of 9 million acres (3.6 million hectares) of land in 54 different areas, mostly in Western states, and provided for the designation of new wilderness areas. By 1992, the total had risen to 95 million acres (38.4 million hectares) in 708 parcels of land. Alaska, with 57.6 million acres (23.3 million hectares), was by far the leading repository of wilderness; Ohio had but 77 acres, and some states had none, although designated areas included several Eastern locations where signs of civilization were substantially erased. Wilderness lands are to be preserved in their natural condition, wild and undeveloped, both for their own sake and for humankind's solitude and enjoyment of their beauty. The idea of wilderness has deep roots in American thought (see environmentalismenvironmentalism,
movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use. The philosophical foundations for environmentalism in the United States were established by Thomas Jefferson,
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). In the 17th cent. William Penn decreed that one acre of forest be left wild for every five that were cleared. Henry David Thoreau believed that the existence of wilderness was justified by the inspiration people could draw from it.

Bibliography

See P. Brooks, The Pursuit of Wilderness (1971); R. Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind (3d ed. 1982).

Wilderness

[′wil·dər·nəs]
(geology)
A North American stage of Middle Ordovician geologic time, above Porterfield and below Trentonian.

wilderness

a wild, uninhabited, and uncultivated region

Wilderness

the. the barren regions to the south and east of Palestine, esp those in which the Israelites wandered before entering the Promised Land and in which Christ fasted for 40 days and nights
References in classic literature ?
This I accepted, and at the request of the same gentlemen, undertook to mark out a road in the best passage from the settlement through the wilderness to Kentucke, with such assistance as I thought necessary to employ for such an important undertaking.
About this time I returned to Kentucke with my family; and here, to avoid an enquiry into my conduct, the reader being before informed of my bringing my family to Kentucke, I am under the necessity of informing him that, during my captivity with the Indians, my wife, who despaired of ever seeing me again, expecting the Indians had put a period to my life, oppressed with the distresses of the country, and bereaved of me, her only happiness, had, before I returned, transported my family and goods, on horses, through the wilderness, amidst a multitude of dangers, to her father's house, in North-Carolina.
In the mean time, the alarm spread through the neighbourhood; the armed men collected immediately, and pursued the ravagers into the wilderness.
In a little time you will love this rude life of the wilderness as I do.
Happy for him then--happy both for him and her--if they remembered that there was a path to heaven, as well from this heathen wilderness as from the Christian land whence they had come.
The American trapper stands by himself, and is peerless for the service of the wilderness.
In the middle of the camp, before the principal lodge, sat the two chieftains, Captain Bonneville and White Plume, in soldier-like communion, the captain delighted with the opportunity of meeting on social terms with one of the red warriors of the wilderness, the unsophisticated children of nature.
This is insufferably hot," said Miss Crawford, when they had taken one turn on the terrace, and were drawing a second time to the door in the middle which opened to the wilderness.
A considerable flight of steps landed them in the wilderness, which was a planted wood of about two acres, and though chiefly of larch and laurel, and beech cut down, and though laid out with too much regularity, was darkness and shade, and natural beauty, compared with the bowling-green and the terrace.
The road grew wilder and drearier and more faintly traced, and vanished at length, leaving him in the heart of the dark wilderness, still rushing onward with the instinct that guides mortal man to evil.
The verse died heavily away, and was lengthened by a chorus, not of human voices, but of all the sounds of the benighted wilderness pealing in awful harmony together.
It was ten o'clock at night before the amiable Sally supported her beloved and loving brother from the Wilderness, by which time he needed the utmost support her tender frame could render; his walk being from some unknown reason anything but steady, and his legs constantly doubling up in unexpected places.