The Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center in Missoula, Montana, offers wide-ranging training opportunities in the field of wilderness, wilderness protection and interpretation. Next to a variety of free online courses and materials and webinars, the center also offers classroom taught courses all over the United States. These courses are targeted to employees of the four federal agencies managing wilderness in the US as well as to teachers, educators and kids. The content of these courses deals with the laws of and around the U.S. Wilderness Act, their implementation, wilderness management and stewardship, resources of wilderness, visitor use or wilderness skills. All the material is accessible through wilderness.net
The inter-agency Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center hosts representatives of all four federal wilderness managing agencies (National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service). It offers and shares ressources and scientific data for wilderness management and stewardship and connects the work of research institutes with the landmanagers. Their comprehensive range of wilderness training will be of great value for the European Wilderness Society to develop wilderness trainings and courses for Europe.
Wilderness in the Northern Rockies
Jimmy Gaudry, Program Manager of Forest Service Region 1 for Wilderness, Wild & Scenic Rivers, and Guides, containing Montana, Idaho and North Dakota, is the northern counterpart of Ralph Swain. The Forest Service originally started in this region. A result of this is that the public integration in forest related questions and issues is significantly higher here than in any other region of the U.S.. Recreation is economically very important for the Northern Rockies. Therefore it is not surprising that region 1 has about 48 280 km of trails, 9 656 km of it in Wilderness. To maintain those trails in wilderness, in particular after fires, is a very political discussion as recreation is such an important economical sector. Another important task of Jimmy Gaudry is the management of species introduction projects with regards to climate change. Finding the right balance between keeping wilderness areas untrammeled while reintroducing native species or dealing with invasive species is a delicate act. The main questions for this purpose are: Will or should we accept short-term disturbances or degradations of naturalness for long-term naturalness? and, How much manipulation is acceptable to “protect” a species in wilderness? When talking about wilderness we should base our answers on a statement of Howard Zahniser, author of the U.S. Wilderness Act, who said: “We should be guardians, not gardeners.”
What’s up next?
During my last week in Missoula I will meet with staff of Ecology Project International to learn more about their Student Exchange Programmes. I will meet with Charles Besancon, Specialist for Strategic Conservation Planning and Assessment, as well as with Courtney Wall, Program Director of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation.