The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964

Paperback | July 23, 2013

byJames Morton TurnerForeword byWilliam Cronon

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From Denali's majestic slopes to the Great Swamp of central New Jersey, protected wilderness areas make up nearly twenty percent of the parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands that cover a full fourth of the nation's territory. But wilderness is not only a place. It is also one of the most powerful and troublesome ideas in American environmental thought, representing everything from sublime beauty and patriotic inspiration to a countercultural ideal and an overextension of government authority.

The Promise of Wilderness examines how the idea of wilderness has shaped the management of public lands since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Wilderness preservation has engaged diverse groups of citizens, from hunters and ranchers to wildlife enthusiasts and hikers, as political advocates who have leveraged the resources of local and national groups toward a common goal. Turner demonstrates how these efforts have contributed to major shifts in modern American environmental politics, which have emerged not just in reaction to a new generation of environmental concerns, such as environmental justice and climate change, but also in response to changed debates over old conservation issues, such as public lands management. He also shows how battles over wilderness protection have influenced American politics more broadly, fueling disputes over the proper role of government, individual rights, and the interests of rural communities; giving rise to radical environmentalism; and playing an important role in the resurgence of the conservative movement, especially in the American West.

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From the Publisher

From Denali's majestic slopes to the Great Swamp of central New Jersey, protected wilderness areas make up nearly twenty percent of the parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands that cover a full fourth of the nation's territory. But wilderness is not only a place. It is also one of the most powerful and troublesome idea...

James Morton Turner is assistant professor of environmental studies at Wellesley College.

other books by James Morton Turner

The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964
The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Polit...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:576 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:July 23, 2013Publisher:University of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295993308

ISBN - 13:9780295993300

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Table of Contents

Foreword Abbreviations Acknowledgments Introduction

Part One Wilderness and the Origins ofModern Environmentalism, 1964–1976

1 Why a Wilderness Act? 2 Speaking for Wilderness 3 The Popular Politics of Wilderness 4 New Environmental Tools for an Old Conservation Issue 101

Part TwoThe Polarization of American Environmental Politics, 1977–1994

5 Alaska: "The Last Chance to Do It Right the First Time" 6 National Forests: The Polarization of Environmental Politics7 The Public Domain: Environmental Politics and the Rise of the New Right

Part Threewilderness and a New Agenda for the Public Lands, 1987–2009

8 From Wilderness to Public Lands Reform 9 The New Prophets of Wilderness 10 The Paths to Public Lands Reform

Epilogue: Rebuilding the WildernessMovement Notes Bibliography Index

Editorial Reviews

From Denali's majestic slopes to the Great Swamp of central New Jersey, protected wilderness areas make up nearly twenty percent of the parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands that cover a full fourth of the nation's territory. But wilderness is not only a place. It is also one of the most powerful and troublesome ideas in American environmental thought, representing everything from sublime beauty and patriotic inspiration to a countercultural ideal and an overextension of government authority. The Promise of Wilderness examines how the idea of wilderness has shaped the management of public lands since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Wilderness preservation has engaged diverse groups of citizens, from hunters and ranchers to wildlife enthusiasts and hikers, as political advocates who have leveraged the resources of local and national groups toward a common goal. Turner demonstrates how these efforts have contributed to major shifts in modern American environmental politics, which have emerged not just in reaction to a new generation of environmental concerns, such as environmental justice and climate change, but also in response to changed debates over old conservation issues, such as public lands management. He also shows how battles over wilderness protection have influenced American politics more broadly, fueling disputes over the proper role of government, individual rights, and the interests of rural communities; giving rise to radical environmentalism; and playing an important role in the resurgence of the conservative movement, especially in the American West.A new crop of conservation historians is pushing up new interpretations of wilderness conservation. Jay Turner is a star of these new historians and his book, The Promise of Wilderness, well deserves reading by anyone who loves wilderness and wants to keep it. I hope it sparks lively discussion around the campfire. - Dave Foreman, author of Rewilding North America and founder of The Rewilding Institute