Fifty years ago on Sept. 3, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Wilderness Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, which set aside a protected 9.1 million acres of federal land and designated September as National Wilderness Month. According to President Barack Obama in this year’s proclamation, “I invite all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, to learn about their vast history, and to aid in the protection of our precious national treasures.”
With the fall equinox approaching on Tuesday, Sept. 23, there aren’t many more warm-season weekends left to be in nature before mud, precipitation, lower temperatures, and longer nights make outdoor recreation less appealing. However, learning about the history and conservation of nature can be done year-round. In lieu of the outdoors, here are the archives of 10 wilderness conservationists to research.
Lorrie Otto – A natural landscaping advocate, she was involved in Wisconsin’s 1970 DDT ban.
Ted Trueblood – An award-winning Idaho conservationist who was associate editor of Field and Stream magazine.
Margaret Black – In 1967 when she retired from teaching at Drake University, she was named conservation educator of the year by the Iowa Wildlife Federation.
William K. Wyant – A prominent environmental reporter in the 1960s and 1970s, he wrote “Westward in Eden: The Public Lands and the Conservation Movement.”
Cora Call Whitley – Having represented women’s conservation clubs nationally, the Whitley Forest at Lake Ahquaki State Park near Indianola, Iowa, was named after her.
Edward Marx Franey – He was involved in wildlife conservation issues in Minnesota including the discontinuance of fox bounties and a ban on tagged fishing contests.
Margaret Wentworth Owings – The only woman on the California State Park Commission in the 1960s, she put aside a career in art in order to advocate for sea otters, mountain lions, California redwoods, and other wildlife.
Harvey H. Manning – A Washington state-based conservationist who had an interesting career in publishing for conservation groups.
Gertrude Glutsch Jensen – Was one of Oregon’s leading conservation activists in the mid-twentieth century.
Irving Brant – Speechwriter for Franklin D. Roosevelt and conservation consultant for U.S. secretary of the interior Harold L. Ickes, his involvement with the Emergency Conservation Committee helped establish Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.