2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Wilderness Policy From 1964-1984: The Rise And Fall Of Wilderness In Western North Carolina

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In the early 20th century a burgeoning awareness regarding the intrinsic value of America’s last remaining wilderness areas began to take shape, and by 1964 the landmark legislation of The Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In Western North Carolina it provided for the formation of six wilderness areas which were designated over the next twenty years. Several legislative acts helped to strengthen these designations, including The Eastern Wilderness Areas Act of 1975. With the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964 came heavy opposition both locally and regionally in Western North Carolina. Timber companies, railroads, locals utilizing these areas for their economic survival, and many others were affected by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Only in the last few decades has scholarship begun to emerge regarding the significant impact the Wilderness Act had on the people, the economy, and the land of Western North Carolina, along with the continued impact it still has today. This thesis paper draws on an analysis of newspaper articles, legislation, interviews, and primary and secondary source works to argue that the future of wilderness areas in Western North Carolina remains precarious due to the continued varied interpretations of both the Wilderness Act and The Eastern Wilderness Areas Act rhetoric, the “commons” mentality of viewing these wilderness areas as semipublic places for local utilization, the subsequent extractive culture still practiced by many in Western North Carolina, and the resistance to having these wilderness areas adjoin private lands.

Tuesday December 6, 2016 8:40am - 9:00am
014 Whiteside Hall

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