To observe and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which was enacted half a century ago on September 3, 1964, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has put on exhibition Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places. It is a photography display that showcases carefully selected and scrutinized images culled from over 5,000 entries.
The award-winning images on exhibition feature a seldom seen side of America which is one of unadultered wildlife. Using the eyes of professional, amateur, and student photographers, visitors of the exhibit can view stunning panoramas and the natural wildlife world as it exists today.
The Wilderness Act is a key foundation of the United States’ conservation laws and helped establish the National Wilderness Preservation System that safeguards the country’s wildest and untouched federally protected lands. These locations include 758 wilderness zones that traverse more than 109 million acres in 44 states in addition to Puerto Rico. Collectively, they represent the biggest, most well-protected bodies of wild lands in America.
Enacted into law in 1964 by President Johnson, the Wilderness Act was a victory for all who took pleasure in the open landscapes of the US and the natural heritage that they embody.
The esteemed judging body was composed of the following:
Adina LoBiondo: Photo Editor, Sierra magazine
Bob Wick: Photographer, BLM
Brendan McCabe: Photo Editor, Smithsonian magazine
Steve Freligh and Charles Veatch: Directors, Nature’s Best Photography
Susan Whitmore: Communications Director, U.S. Public Lands Conservation, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places will be on view at the Smithsonian until summer next year. Viewers are enjoined to vote for their favorite entries, which they can do online in order to help select and determine which image will be showcased as a particular month’s spotlight. Read more about the photo exhibit here.