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A wilderness is a natural environment on Earth that has been little modified by human activity. Wilderness areas are an integral part of the planet's self-sustaining natural ecosystem (the biosphere).

CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F

  • The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see.
    • Edward Abbey, "Down the River", Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, 1968, p. 190.
  • Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
    • Edward Abbey, "Down the River", Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, 1968, p. 190.
  • The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.
    • Edward Abbey, "Shadows from the Big Woods", The Journey Home, 1977, p. 223.
  • He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness.
  • I tried to break the spell — the heavy, mute spell of the wilderness — that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts, by the memory of gratified and monstrous passions.
  • The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans. Our challenge for the future is that we realize we are very much a part of the earth's ecosystem, and we must learn to respect and live according to the basic biological laws of nature.

G - L

  • There is in every American, I think, something of the old Daniel Boone — who, when he could see the smoke from another chimney, felt himself too crowded and moved further out into the wilderness.
    • Hubert Humphrey, remarks at University of Chicago, 14 January 1966, The Quotable Hubert H. Humphrey, p. 10.
  • If I had my way about national parks, I would create one without a road in it. I would have it impenetrable forever to automobiles, a place where man would not try to improve upon God.
  • Many of the attributes most distinctive of America and Americans are the impress of the wilderness. … Shall we now exterminate this thing that made us Americans?
    • Aldo Leopold, "Wilderness as a Form of Land Use", 1925. Republished in The River of the Mother of God and Other Essays by Aldo Leopold, edited by Susan L. Flader and J. Baird Callicott, 1991, pp. 137-138.
  • If we lose our wilderness, we have nothing left, in my opinion, worth fighting for; or to be more exact, a completely industrialized United States is of no consequence to me.
  • Man always kills the thing he loves, and so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?
    • Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, "Chihuahua and Sonora: The Green Lagoons" (1949), p. 148-149.
  • Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization.
    • Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, "Wilderness" (1949), p. 188.
  • In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
    • Charles Lindbergh, "The Wisdom of Wilderness", Life, 22 December 1967, volume 63, number 25, p. 10.

M - R

  • Beauty is a resource in and of itself. … I hope the United States of America is not so rich that she can afford to let these wildernesses pass by, or so poor she cannot afford to keep them.
  • The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
    • John Muir, July 1890; Published in John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, 1938, p. 313.
  • Large events to us but to these mountains? Nothing. That's what I love about the empty places of the world; places with few people and little to see save earth, sky, mountains and cold, cold stars. They help me keep matters in perspective.
    • Richard Parks, Empty Places (2005) reprinted in Rich Horton (ed.), Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2006, p. 248

S - Z

  • If the human population of the world continues to increase at its current rate, there will soon be no room for either wild life or wild places … But I believe that sooner or later man will learn to limit his overpopulation. Then he will be much more concerned with optimum rather than maximum, quality rather than quantity, and will recover the need within himself for contact with wilderness and wild nature.
  • We are all travelers in … the wilderness of this world … and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend.
  • Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste. And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the other animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it. … We need wilderness preserved — as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds — because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed. The reminder and the reassurance that it is still there is good for our spiritual health even if we never once in ten years set foot in it.
  • A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a member of the natural community, a wanderer who visits but does not remain and whose travels leave only trails.
    • From an early draft of the Wilderness Act (S. 1176, submitted to the Senate 11 February 1957, as reprinted in The Living Wilderness volume 21, number 59, Winter-Spring 1956-57, pages 26-36), by Howard Zahniser
  • A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
  • To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
    • Terry Tempest Williams, testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Forest & Public Lands Management regarding the Utah Public Lands Management Act of 1995 (Washington, D.C., 13 July 1995), published in Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert (2001), p. 75.

See also

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