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Pine Creek Lake. Photo by Walker Stole
Aug 31 2015

Nicholas Kristof on Wilderness

His recent column in The New York Times reminds us what makes Wilderness so great

In the Media

In his recent New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof celebrates public lands and extols the virtues of the Wilderness experience. He makes a number of great points that any MWA member already knows, but we’ll give Mr. Kristof his due and highlight some of them.

  • Wilderness = equality: “Lawyers and construction workers get bitten by the same mosquitoes and sip from the same streams.” Does it get any more egalitarian than that?
  • When it comes to high-value, low-cost vacations, Wilderness can’t be beat: “My daughter and I unroll our sleeping bags on a $5 plastic sheet and watch shooting stars until we fall asleep (if it rains we set up a tarp).” 
  • Back in the day, rich Americans set aside public lands for everyone, no matter who their daddy was: “People like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot who helped preserve our wild places were personally wealthy and could afford country estates. But they understood the importance of common ownership of some of America’s natural heritage, so that access didn’t depend on wealth or breeding.”
  • In wilderness, we are not lords of the universe: “Yes, in midsummer balls of ice the size of marbles pelted us, stinging through hats and clothing. Soon the ice turned to rain, the trail to mud — and we were reminded that one of the great things about the wilderness is its capacity to discomfort and humble us.” 

Read the full column

- Kassia Randzio, MWA's community engagement manager