By Michelle McConnaha - Ravilli Republic -
The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act was celebrated with the installation of a wilderness kiosk and dedication event by multiple forest agencies at the Magruder Ranger Station on Sept. 16.
Julie King, Bitterroot National Forest supervisor, said wilderness helps us with our interpretation of life.
“It’s that journey within to examine our feelings as human beings,” said King. “It’s how we look at the landscape and our role with it as stewards – and here’s an environment that’s allowed to function without us intervening.
“It’s amazing in this day and age to have that foresight to put that aside to do that. So think about how wilderness helps you as a human being to become more defined or to understand your environment and your place and your role.”
The wilderness kiosk installed and dedicated as part of the day was designed and built by the young men and women of the Trapper Creek Job Corps Center in Darby.
Steve Kimball, wilderness manager for the Forest Service’s Northern Region, said the kiosk was significant.
“This piece of art that you put together and put in the ground here is remarkable, and the location is remarkable,” said Kimball. “We’re standing in the corridor between two of the largest, most wild, most remarkable wilderness areas in the country. The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, which was formed when the Wilderness Act was signed 50 years ago, and the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to the south that was designated in 1980, so we’re right here where people are going to come and access both wilderness areas and think about the meaning of wilderness areas.
“The folks who created wilderness – they were thinking of legacy tracts of land left for future generations of Americans. Now the system has grown to 110 million acres and we celebrate 50 years of wilderness.”
Sally Ferguson, executive director of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, said caring for the wilderness is a group effort.
“I wanted to acknowledge the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance – a national outfit all about building a wilderness/stewardship community,” said Ferguson. “They funded the project and they gave us an opportunity to work together.
“The intent of the project was to bring the U.S. Forest Service and the NWSA with other wilderness organizations together to get something done that had a legacy component.”
The kiosk was funded as a Wilderness Partnership Project with National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, Trapper Creek Job Corps, USFS Region 1 and the Bitterroot National Forest.
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