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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

"50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, 1964 - 2014"

Thomas Cooper Library

Don’t miss the summer display in the Government Information and Maps area on Level 5 in Thomas Cooper Library.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, and Debbie Yerkes has pulled together some interesting material. Many of the items on display feature gorgeous photographs, like the image here, which appears in a brochure produced by the National Wildlife Service.

“Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act that allows Congress to set aside parts of national parks and other federally-owned land as wilderness areas,” said Yerkes, a librarian in Government Information and Maps.

“When something is designated wilderness, it is wilderness forever — you can’t log in it, you can’t put roads through it," she said. "There are now quite a few million acres of wilderness across the United States, with Alaska having the highest number of wilderness acres. The land is overseen by four agencies, so we have quite a bit of material relating to the act and the wilderness it has preserved.”

President Johnson signed the act into law on September 3, 1964, saying, “If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.” 

Although it isn’t a traditional gallery space, the Government Information and Maps area on Level 5 offers plenty of perusal space. “50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, 1964-2014” begins in the glass cases along the left wall as you enter through the double doors, continues on to the bulletin board on the left wall (the Wilderness Act timeline on the board is fascinating), and continues in the large glass cases next to the information desk.