Sustaining Wilderness Traditions Share
A campaign to promote and keep alive the traditional skills and tools of wilderness in order to ensure these benefits and values of wilderness for future generations.
Every day, our modern world is rapidly becoming more technical and mechanical. This is true even in wilderness, which Congress intended to be an area free of motorization, mechanization, and our over-reliance on the conveniences of the modern world. While the Wilderness Act establishes rigorous prohibitions on the use of motorized and mechanized equipment, the reality on the ground is a growing reliance on the use of such equipment - in everything from chainsaws to helicopters - for an ever-widening array of activities in wilderness. As a result, the knowledge and use of traditional skills are eroding away from our culture, and along with it, the history, traditions, and values of wilderness.
Wilderness Watch has developed this campaign to promote the cultural traditions and uses of "woods skills" that are necessary to preserve America's wilderness. These skills are those that backcountry explorers, workers, and pioneers, as well as loggers, ranchers, and miners used prior to the advent of motor vehicles, aircraft, and motorized equipment. By promoting these traditional skills as part of our nation's "living history," we seek to build the public and agency support needed to ensure that management actions in wilderness are carried out in the "traditional way," as the Wilderness Act intended.
The primary benefits of this campaign are as follows:
A key campaign strategy is to generate interest and support from traditional and non-traditional wilderness constituencies, particularly in rural communities where much of the knowledge and skills still reside. This support base will help us achieve policy initiatives that embrace and encourage the practice of traditional skills for management activities in Wilderness.
Time is of the essence. As society pushes faster into the technological age and the knowledge of Wilderness traditions fades further into the past, the window for relearning and recommitting to these skills grows narrower.