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The Traditional American Wilderness

            When you think of Wilderness, would you define it as: an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region1 Depending on your background and what culture you were raised in, everyone's ideals of wilderness will vary. For majority of Americans raised in towns and cities, this is the image of wilderness that is taught from a young age. Society encourages a close relationship and preservation of the wilderness we've grown up to understand. Our close relationships include short-lived recreational activities like camping trips, site seeing, and hunting. Although these activities proposer in wilderness, the areas of land they occupy are reserves and national land set aside to maintain an untouched, preserved environment for animal habitats while still providing human entertainment. Why has the image of wilderness as a preserve been created and passed down this way in the lives of Americans?.
             The image of wilderness we still see today incorporates what is considered the traditional wilderness. The ideal traditional wilderness is defined as a "people-less naturally functioning ecosystem". Any and all human interaction harmed the beloved wilderness, or so it seemed. Even the Wilderness Act of 1964 provides a definition of wilderness that should be "untrammeled by man" because at this time human cultivation appeared to be the root of all their environmental problems, so "man himself is a visitor who does not remain". In order to save the wilderness from human destruction, preservations were created. They provided for natural management of nature which allows wilderness to flourish without human influence. For preserves to succeed, they were created large because small reserves were thought to be unproductive; in other words, "the bigger the better" in the traditional view. There is a reason why the traditional wilderness became embedded in the heart of Americans this way.

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