NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
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CONSERVATION
WILDERNESS CONSERVATION

In isolation from Nature lies the danger of man's isolation from his fellows and from his Creator. We seek to guarantee our children a place to walk and plan and commune with Nature.

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In a thousand unseen ways we have drawn shape and strength from the land....The house of America is founded upon our land and if we keep that whole, then the storm can rage, but the house will stand forever.

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The wonder of Nature is the treasure of America. What we have in woods and forest, valley and stream, in the gorges and the mountains and the hills, we must not destroy. The precious legacy of preservation of beauty will be our gift to posterity.

—Lyndon Baines Johnson
President of the United States

In the 1960's resource conservation must concern itself with all actions and activities that affect our overall environment—from the pesticide residue in the penguins in the Antarctic to safeguarding the polar bear in the Arctic.

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But in our pride and zeal to preserve our monuments, we must always be mindful of the natural environment in which they are placed. Polluted waterways, devastated forests, destruction of the wildlife and natural beauty which once abounded in this great Nation have brought us to a very real, if quiet, crisis.

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The hour is late, the opportunities diminish with each passing year, and we must establish here a Common Market of conservation knowledge which will enable us to achieve our highest goals and broadest purposes. With each day that passes the natural world shrinks as we exert greater artificial control over our environment.

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Few of us can hope to leave a poem or a work of art to posterity; but working together or apart, we can yet save meadows, marshes, strips of seashore, and stream valleys as a green legacy for the centuries.

—Stewart L. Udall
Secretary of the Interior

Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left....The land is one organism. Its parts, like our own parts, compete with each other and cooperate with each other.

—Aldo Leopold 1886 - 1948

An unwritten compact between the dead, the living and the unborn requires that we leave the unborn something more than debts and depleted natural resources.

—A Washington State Court Decision

The conservation clock is ticking too fast to be turned back.

The Race for Inner Space
A 1964 Publication of the
Department of the Interior

The Outdoors lies deep in American tradition. It has had immeasurable impact on the Nation's character and on those who made its history....Today's challenge is to assure all Americans permanent access to their outdoor heritage.

Outdoor Recreation for America
The 1962 Report of the
Outdoor Recreation Resources
Review Commission

Conservation is intelligent cooperation with Nature.

—Unknown

We must reaffirm our dedication to the sound practices of conservation which can be defined as the highest form of national thrift—the prevention of waste and despoilment while preserving, improving and renewing the quality and usefulness of all our resources.

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy
President of the United States
from 1961 to 1963

The face and character of our country are determined by what we do with America and its resources.

—Thomas Jefferson
President of the United States
from 1801 to 1809

God has lent us the earth for our life.
It is a great entail.
It belongs as much to those who follow us as it does to us
And we have no right, by anything we may do or neglect to do,
To involve them in unnecessary penalties,
Or to deprive them of the benefit
Which we have in our power to bequeath.

—John Ruskin
1819 - 1900

A town is saved, not more by the righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it....

—Henry David Thoreau
1817 - 1862

Without enough wilderness America will change. Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by regular contact with outdoor growths—animals, trees, sun, warmth and free skies—or it will dwindle and pale.

—Walt Whitman
1819 - 1892

The conservation of natural resources is the key to the future. It is the key to the safety and prosperity of the American people, and all the people of the world, for all time to come. The very existence of our Nation, and all the rest, depends on conserving the resources which are the foundation of its life.

—Gifford Pinchot
Chief Forester of the United States
from 1898 to 1910

Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees....

—Revelations 7:3

The Nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.

—Theodore Roosevelt
President of the United States
from 1901 to 1909

Let us preserve our silent sanctuaries for in them we perpetuate the eternal perspectives.

—Greek Philosopher

We cannot command nature except by obeying her.

—Francis Bacon
1561 - 1626

Accuse not Nature. She hath done her part; do thou but thine.

—John Milton
1608 - 1674

You may frequently win a battle, but you can never win the war. Whenever one threat is put down, another immediately arises; the struggle is endless, and conservationists must always be ready to rally their forces for another fight. Even triumphs carry their own dangers.

—Alfred A. Knopf

Wilderness areas...are great reservoirs of the serene order of nature.

—Donald Culross Peattie
1898-1964

We no longer destroy great works of art. They are treasured, and regarded as of priceless value, but we have yet to attain the state of civilization where the destruction of a glorious work of Nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird, is regarded with equal abhorrence.

—Henry Fairfield Osborn
1857 - 1935

The key to modern conservation is to strike a reasonable balance between national growth and expansion on the one hand, and a recreation and the wilderness on the other. It is a challenge at all levels of government—National, State, local.

Kansas City Star
1963

It [wilderness] is a place where trees grow that were not planted, and a man can walk and he is not trespassing.

He can spend a day or a week or as long as he wants, soaking into his being the stillness of the mountains, that brings healing peace to man. He sees the creeks running free and clear, with fish in quiet pools. While he sits on the trunk of a fallen tree and eats his lunch, he looks at all that is around him, and his mind is not closed to understanding, but listens to the voice of the stillness that is the mountains. And he listens to the story of how the half-rotten tree trunk he is using for both chair and table came to be there, at the edge of the clearing.

—Frances Zaunmiller
Correspondent to the Idaho County Free
Press, Grangeville, Idaho

Let's get away from the idea that man is always and invariably an intruder in the wilderness, in nature. He has changed nature greatly, sometimes wisely, sometimes with the most appalling lack of wisdom. But man is as much a part of nature and the natural scene as a sequoia or a bear or an eagle. For some reason, we consider the Indian in his ancient habitat a part of the natural scene; actually all men are part of it. The more they make themselves a part of it without changing it foolishly, the better off they are.

—Herbert Evison
Former Chief of Information
National Park Service

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

—Aldo Leopold
1886 - 1948

The world is full of interesting things. We live on 10 inches of topsoil. All plant life is nourished by it. Below is rock. If the topsoil blows away, all vegetables and trees will die. If they die, the animals will go. Including us. The earth then will consist of seas and deserts.

—Unknown

Conservation is an idea whose time has come. It is obvious that man has fulfilled an ancient directive to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it." Now he must learn to understand the ecological consequences of his conquest.

—Ernest Brooks

For a nation that grows more metropolitan and industrialized every year, the experience of solitude, even the simple fact of quiet, has become inestimable....It is imperative to maintain portions of the wilderness untouched, so that a tree will rot where it falls, a waterfall will pour its curve without generating electricity, a trumpeter swan may float on uncontaminated water—and moderns may at least see what their ancestors knew in their nerves and blood.

—Bernard DeVoto
1897 - 1955

Over a period of years we have come to appreciate more and more the wonder and wisdom of Nature's infinite plan for the survival of her creatures. But sometimes Nature's design is changed by civilization. When this happens, we must help Nature preserve her vanishing creatures.

—Walt Disney

A river is a treasure.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes
Associate Justice of the United
States Supreme Court
from 1902 to 1932

He plants trees to benefit another generation.

—Cicero
106 - 43 B.C.

Many years ago a distinguished Frenchman, Marshal Lyautey, asked his gardener to plant a tree, and the gardener said, "Well, this won't flower for a hundred years." And the Marshal said, "In that case, plant it this afternoon."

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Our Nation's progress is reflected in the history of our great river systems. The water that courses through our rivers and streams holds the key to full national development. Uncontrolled, it wipes out homes, lives and dreams, bringing disaster in the form of floods; controlled, it is an effective artery of transportation, a boon to industrial development, a source of beauty and recreation, and the means for turning arid areas into rich and versatile cropland.

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy
President of the United States
from 1961 to 1963

Nature affords few remaining opportunities in the continental United States to see the masterworks of its daughter, the sea, undefiled.

—William V. Shannon

We must extend the concept of wilderness areas so that we'll have some that include estuaries, seashores, enclosed bodies of water and open sea right out to our territorial limits....This must be done or there won't be a foot of the United States seashore that won't be concreted....We must further extend the concept of international oceanic wilderness of uninhabited islands and adjacent oceans.

—Athelstan Spilhaus

There are certain values in our landscape that ought to be sustained against destruction or impairment, though their worth cannot be expressed in money terms. They are essential to our "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness"; this Nation of ours is not so rich it can afford to lose them; it is still rich enough to afford to preserve them.

—Newton B. Drury
Director of the National Park Service
from 1940 to 1951

In defying Nature, in destroying Nature, in building an arrogantly selfish, man-centered, artificial world, I do not see how man can gain peace or freedom or joy. I have faith in man's future, faith in the possibilities latent in the human experiment: but it is faith in man as a part of Nature...faith in man sharing life, not destroying it.

—Marston Bates



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Last Updated: 09-Dec-2011