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Perspectives on wilderness in the Arctic

Posted date: September 30, 2011
Publication Year: 
2002
Authors: Klein, David R.
Publication Series: 
Proceedings (P)
Source: In: Watson, Alan E.; Alessa, Lilian; Sproull, Janet, comps. Wilderness in the Circumpolar North: searching for compatibility in ecological, traditional, and ecotourism values; 2001 May 15-16; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-26. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-6.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

In the American lexicon, the concept of wilderness has become formalized through the Wilderness Act of 1964, and thus it has been defined in legal terms as a land designation. Yet wilderness, just as beauty, remains in the eye of the beholder, and how individuals experience wilderness varies both within cultures, as well as between cultures. As pressures for resource extraction, tourism, and related commercial development spread northward into the Arctic, those living in the more intensively developed lower latitudes may perceive the Arctic as a last remaining portion of the Earth, where it is still possible to set aside large areas of land as wilderness. Indigenous peoples living in the Arctic, however, view the lands and waters that have sustained them and their cultures as their homelands. People living outside the Arctic may seek to protect Arctic areas as wilderness for the benefit of future generations who share their values. If the "wildness" of arctic lands is to be protected from destructive human pressures, it must be done within the context of the cultural perspectives of arctic-dwelling peoples.

Citation

Klein, David R. 2002. Perspectives on wilderness in the Arctic. In: Watson, Alan E.; Alessa, Lilian; Sproull, Janet, comps. Wilderness in the Circumpolar North: searching for compatibility in ecological, traditional, and ecotourism values; 2001 May 15-16; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-26. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-6.