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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.


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

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A North American stage of Middle Ordovician geologic time, above Porterfield and below Trentonian.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a wild, uninhabited, and uncultivated region


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Within a few hours' drive of all the state's major cities, the Sierras offer very accessible wilderness. Yet while millions of visitors crowd the roads to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and Sequoia, relatively few visitors ever see the high mountains and back country that John Muir revered.
The Sudbury Region is entering the third year of a co-operative campaign which promotes Sudbury's big city conveniences nestled in an accessible wilderness.
There are few relatively safe, relatively accessible wildernesses left on our planet, and Canada is truly blessed with vast expanses of rugged terrain.

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