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 ?
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.
Many dark and sleepless nights have I been a companion for owls, separated from the chearful society of men, scorched by the Summer's sun, and pinched by the Winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness. But now the scene is changed: Peace crowns the sylvan shade.
"You dug a grave for my poor father in the wilderness, Reuben?" was the question by which her filial piety manifested itself.
These mental deceptions, however, came and went, nor did he ever mistake them for realities: but in the calmest and clearest moods of his mind he was conscious that he had a deep vow unredeemed, and that an unburied corpse was calling to him out of the wilderness. Yet such was the consequence of his prevarication that he could not obey the call.
He was to throw sunlight into some deep recess of the forest, and seek subsistence from the virgin bosom of the wilderness.
Oh, who, in the enthusiasm of a daydream, has not wished that he were a wanderer in a world of summer wilderness, with one fair and gentle being hanging lightly on his arm?
"Pray Heaven, Dorcas," said Reuben, in a broken voice,--"pray Heaven that neither of us three dies solitary and lies unburied in this howling wilderness!" And he hastened away, leaving her to watch the fire beneath the gloomy pines.
He was musing on the strange influence that had led him away from his premeditated course, and so far into the depths of the wilderness. Unable to penetrate to the secret place of his soul where his motives lay hidden, he believed that a supernatural voice had called him onward, and that a supernatural power had obstructed his retreat.
The heart of Dorcas was not sad; for she felt that it was better to journey in the wilderness with two whom she loved than to be a lonely woman in a crowd that cared not for her.
"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. "Shall any of us object to being comfortable?
And we have one of the answers to our question "What is God up to?" (There may be many others; this is only one.) God is up to, in some sense, the same thing as God's been up to all along: the choosing of a people, who are gathered in the wilderness and prepared for God to dwell with them.
Wilderness in the Bible: Toward a Theology of Wilderness, by Robert Barry Leal.