The National Wilderness Conference, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from October 15-19 -- the largest gathering of the wilderness community since the Act was signed in 1964.
Among the keynote speakers was Sierra Club President David Scott, above.
"I'm honored to have been part of Wilderness 50 in Albuquerque last week, where more than 1,200 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act," Scott says. "That landmark law has protected 757 wilderness areas with a total acreage the size of the state of California.
"Numerous heroes of past wilderness protection fights joined present and future activists, telling the crowd not just how we got to where we are today, but what we need to do if wilderness protection is to meet the challenge of climate change, if we're going to make nature more accessible to all, and if our environmental movement is going to be more open and inclusive, as it must be. I'm proud of the strong Sierra Club contingent at this celebration, and glad I had a chance to join them."
From Scott's remarks at the conference:
As Sierra Club founder John Muir told us, "The battle we have fought, and are still fighting … is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it."
In this golden anniversary year of the Wilderness Act, my hope is that we all leave this celebration not only proud of what has been accomplished, but rededicated to meet the enormous challenges of the future. I hope we leave this celebration prepared to not only protect more wild places on a map-- important as that is -- but to also meet the enormous challenge of climate disruption, to make our environmental movement and our society more broad, more just, and more inclusive, and to leave for future generations the beautiful, wild and livable planet that is their birthright.