On this day 56 years ago, Congress established the Wilderness Act in 1964. Congress wanted to protect undeveloped and wild areas as an enduring resource for the American people. Today, this act protects 111 million acres of wilderness preserving more than 750 wilderness areas in states from Alaska to Florida.
This act created the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and immediately designated 54 areas into this system. Some of the first wilderness areas created included Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming, Ansel Adams Wilderness in California, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Today, the National Park Service makes up about 56% of the land under NWPS with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management areas making up the rest.
Many benefits exist today from this land conservation including providing habitats for wildlife; clean air; clean drinking water; boosting local economies with tourism and recreation; and providing some really amazing places to escape and appreciate this great land here!
Go enjoy this anniversary and get out in the wilderness today!
A couple of weeks ago, we ventured out of town for a few days and visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Given this trip was plan B for our summer vacation, it turned out really great!
Sequoia and Kings Canyon sit south of Yosemite National Park in California in the southern Sierra Nevadas. Sequoia is America’s second national park created in 1890.
In Sequoia National Park, the kids opted to check out General Sherman as our first adventure in the park. General Sherman stands as the earth’s largest tree in volume of total wood. It is 275 feet tall with a circumference of 103 feet. Its trunk weighs an estimated 1,385 tons! It’s also estimated to be 2,200 years old! Every year, General Sherman grows enough new wood to produce a 60 foot tall tree of usual size.
Over in Kings Canyon National Park, we checked out General Grant.
While these parks have the amazing giant trees, these two parks also showcase other diverse parts of nature. Enjoy a few photos of other parts of these parks:
We really enjoyed our time here! We did miss going to the visitor centers and listening to ranger talks, but the kids still learned new things and completed their junior ranger books that we printed out at home before our trip.
While most people drive on through these two parks in one day, you can easily spend multiple days here and enjoy the variety of landscapes and trails here. I’d highly recommend checking out these two parks if you’re in the area!
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir
Earth Day is a global celebration encouraging education and stewardship of the planet’s natural resources. This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!
Take a moment and go online to learn about how we can protect our only planet. Click here to learn more about earth sciences. Click here to learn about the leave no trace principles at our parks. For kids, become a junior explorer today by clicking here!