2014 Symposium: Wilderness Planning

By: Joseph Baumann

Peter Appel, Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law

  • Professor Appel began his remarks by introducing the Wilderness Act of 1964. He called it one of America’s most influential exports and pointed out the fact that the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Categories 1A and 1B are based on language from the Wilderness Act.
  • He went on to offer a definition of Wilderness supported by the Act, and then talked about the challenges and questions involved in the Restoration process.
  • Professor Appel noted the difficulties faced by the federal agencies in managing Wilderness, as defined by the Act.

Gregory Aplet, Ph.D., Senior Science Director, The Wilderness Society

  • Doctor Aplet touched upon the essence of wilderness, discussing the various forms in which wilderness can persist, whether untouched or managed.
  • He then discussed the implications of global climate change on wilderness areas, which he described as “certain uncertainty,” and advocated for a diversity of approaches to be “integrated across the landscape in a cohesive experiment” as a result. This, he argued, was the best course for sustaining wilderness values.

Lindsay Sain Jones, JD Candidate, University of Georgia School of Law

  • Ms. Jones expanded on Professor Appel’s introduction of the Wilderness Act, and argued that federal agencies cannot fulfill their duties under the Act when they delegate management to the States.
  • As an example, she discussed the predator control tactics used within a federally-protected wilderness in the State of Montana. The management of this wilderness area had been delegated by the Bureau of Land Management to the State, which I turn hired a professional hunter to thin out the population of wolves in the region, presumably to preserve local elk herds for the hunting community. Ms. Jones argued that the State’s actions ran counter to the purpose of the Wilderness Act, and that the ultimate problem stemmed from the delegation itself.

Following their presentations, the candidates responded to questions, including hypotheticals that highlighted the differences between an active approach to managing wilderness, and a “hands-off” approach.

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