Leave No Trace Activates Kids for Wilderness Act Celebration

This week marks the start of a year-long countdown to the 50th anniversary of America’s Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964. To showcase the diverse ways Americans value Wilderness, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has joined a coalition of agencies and universities to coordinate a multitude of local and national events across the United States.

“As more and more people began exploring Wilderness Areas, the impact of this increased visitation began to show.  Thus, the need for minimum-impact education quickly emerged and the Leave No Trace movement and program were born,” according to Dana Watts, Leave No Trace Executive Director. “We’re so happy to be celebrating the 50 years of the Wilderness Act by building a sense of stewardship and action among our nation’s kids.”

In conjunction with the Wilderness50 Youth Committee, the Center will share our youth education program with 300 schools. The Center will be distributing 100 PEAK Packs and 200 TEEN Packs to elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States by December 2014.  Each custom pack will include information about the Wilderness Act and the Center's role in the proliferation of these special, federally protected areas.  

The schools will be chosen based on recommendations from Leave No Trace members, our Volunteer State Advocates, Community Partners, and the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers.  If you'd like to nominate a school, please email your letter of support to Education Programs Coordinator, Jason Grubb, at jason@lnt.org by September 15, 2014.

Providing these Leave No Trace educational resources to schools across the country will help cultivate a new generation of outdoor stewards and ensure the continued, responsible enjoyment of our public lands. 

About the Wilderness Act

Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964, the historic Wilderness Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America's support for wilderness, Congress has added more than 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines "Wilderness" as areas where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.

The NWPS was established for the use and enjoyment of the American people and provides many direct and in-direct benefits, such as those relating to ecological, geological, scientific, educational, scenic, spiritual, economic, recreational, historical, and cultural uses and activities. The 757 wilderness areas within the NWPS are managed by all four federal land managing agencies—the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service.

For information on Wilderness50 visit http://www.wilderness50th.org.