Anniversary Celebration for the National Wilderness Preservation System
David Grimes, National Park Service
On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America’s support for wilderness,
Congress has added over 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines “Wilderness” as areas where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.
National Park Service
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness
1.3 million acres of Everglades National Park met the stringent criteria for this extra level of protection for places untrammeled by humans, in pristine condition, that should be protected for future generations. This huge area was designated the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness on November 10, 1978.
It is the largest designated wilderness in the southeastern United States and home to a broad range of animals and plants. It is also the largest remaining subtropical reserve in the United States.
Did You Know?
Over the course of thousands of years, the natural communities of South Florida have become well adapted to the devastating effects of seasonal hurricanes. In fact, such storms are considered an important element in the long-term health of the Everglades.