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Wilderness 2.0 Essay Contest

We are pleased to announce that the winner of contest is Jeff Wagner, for his essay, "Wild Connections". The winning essay will be published next year in Sierra magazine online.

Contest organizers: Kimberly Smith, Carleton College; Matthew Kirby, Sierra Club.
Questions should be directed to Kimberly Smith at

What Is Wilderness?

The Wilderness Act of 1964 created a new category of protected lands, owned by all Americans, where "the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." They are areas set aside by Congress for their astounding natural character, permanently off-limits to development so they can be enjoyed by the public -- and not exploited by special interests.

Wilderness designations protect some of our most cherished landscapes, from Yosemite National Park to the heart of Maine's Northwoods to the Florida Everglades. Americans visit these areas year after year to hike, hunt, fish, backpack, and canoe. Wilderness designations protect vital habitat for plants and animals, while boosting the economies of local communities through tourism and recreation. They are central to our nation's wild legacy, a source of inspiration to millions, and worth our best efforts at protection.

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