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Rocky Mountain National Park Lyceum Series Continues March 6

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Date: March 2, 2010
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

2010 Lyceum Series “Wilderness: Of What Avail Are Forty Freedoms Without A Blank Spot On The Map?”

Saturday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. – Driven Wild: The Automobile and the Making of Modern Wilderness

Just two decades after the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, a small group of conservationists – among them Aldo Leopold, Bob Marshall, Robert Sterling Yard, and Benton MacKaye – came together to form The Wilderness Society and to advocate for a new preservationist ideal that they called “wilderness.” In his lecture, author Paul Sutter will examine the interwar origins of modern American wilderness advocacy, arguing that it was the automobile and the threats that it posed to the nation’s remaining wild lands that prompted these advocates to argue for a system of wilderness areas – a system that eventually came to fruition with the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Dr. Sutter is a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder Department of History. Dr. Sutter is also the editor of the "Environmental History and the American South" book series, published by the University of Georgia Press, and he has received fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the Huntington Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His new book, “Driven Wild” will be available for purchase and signing.

In March, 2009, President Obama signed legislation providing additional protection to Rocky Mountain National Park by designating most of the park’s backcountry as wilderness, which encompasses roughly 95 percent of the park. Park staff joined the gateway communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park in welcoming the passage by the Congress of the wilderness designation for the park’s backcountry. This was the culmination of an effort that began in 1974 by President Richard Nixon and was jump started in recent years through the efforts of many. 

The theme of the 2010 Lyceum Series is “Wilderness: Of What Avail Are Forty Freedoms Without A Blank Spot On The Map?” the famous quote from Aldo Leopold. This year’s series will focus on how wilderness influences what we do as stewards of this incredible national park. Speakers will highlight what wilderness means spiritually, physically, as part of naturally functioning systems, as part of our psyche as a nation, and how it guides our decisions on management decisions at Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Lyceum schedule runs through May. Financial support for the lyceum series is provided by the park’s nonprofit partner, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association. Programs are free and open to the public. They are held at 7:00 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center auditorium in Rocky Mountain National Park.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call (970) 586-1206.

Did You Know?

a photo of the mountains at treeline

Temperature causes tree line. Trees need an average growing temperature of about 50 degrees.