Wilderness Watch was established in 1989 to make sure that designated Wilderness Areas and Wild Rivers are protected and managed to mantain their wilderness quality and character. The organisation developed out of the need to control the development in designated Wilderness Areas, as there is no such control by or of the four managing agencies.
George Nickas, Executive Director of Wilderness Watch, explained this need for control with the development of the U.S. Wilderness Act and the people involved. The Act had to undergo several modifications in order to make all four federal agencies agree to it. This also explains the list of exceptions. However, these exceptions might vary between the four agencies or they might have interpreted them differently. This consequently leads to distinctions when it comes to management measures within wilderness areas, for example for trail maintenance, or allowed uses. Wilderness Watch calls attention to deviations of management measures that threaten wilderness quality or to misuse of wilderness areas.
Control and Monitoring of European Wilderness
For members and partners of the European Wilderness Network, the European Wilderness Society offers continuous control to secure the wilderness quality or, if necessary, to adjust the wilderness label to the changes that might have occured. As wilderness is a process, changes or fluctuations in habitats and population sizes or distributions might appear, but are seen as part of the overall process, as long as they are caused naturally. If changes in the wilderness quality result from changing management measures, the wilderness label will be adjusted accordingly.
What’s up next this week?
After visiting the Bitterroot Valley and exploring the local Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, I will meet with Susan Fox of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and Andrea Gehrke of the Arthur Carhard National Wilderness Training Center later this week. I will also meet Jimmy Gaudry of the Forest Service.