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The Rationale for the Title

In 1960, Wallace Stegner wrote to an official at the UC Berkeley who was working on a report on wilderness. In that letter – now called the Wilderness Letter – Wallace Stegner argues for the preservation of wilderness not for any of its direct and indirect practical justifications but because the preservation of wilderness also preserves the “wilderness idea,” a uniquely American concept that, he asserts, must remain if we are to remain American, in the original sense of the idea, and, more broadly, if we are to forestall our transformation from a wild, native, individualistic, genuine humanity to a domesticated, contrived, imitation of humanity. He demands recognition for the intangible, non-quantifiable benefits of wilderness, a sentiment he expressed most eloquently in his closing:

We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.

While there are of course many arguments to be made for the preservation of wilderness independent of this intangible value, I named the blog after Stegner’s letter in hopes that in my writing I will remain cognizant of the intangibles in life, primarily in respect to wilderness and the environment but also when I write about everything else that interests me.

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