One of our topics of discussion this week was something that Roderick Nash talks about in Chapter 15 of his book, Wilderness and the American Mind. He brings up the idea of the fear of “loving wilderness to death” which we see now happening to the Grand Canyon National Park. With peoples increased interest in the outdoors and outdoor recreation, the resources are slowly being damaged and depleted. People wanting to see and experience nature and wilderness is great but there has to be a limit, or carrying capacity. The carrying capacity determines how much use a resource can withstand before it needs to be regulated. Four revolutions have contributed to this “overrunning of the woods” as Nash would say it. These are intellectual revolution, equipment revolution, transportation revolution, and information revolution.
Intellectual revolution was how the value and appreciation of wilderness changed through popular media and politics glamorizing it. Equipment revolution- 50-pound white canvas tents, wet packaged food, and struggling to carry everything has turned into plastic, nylon, aluminum, freeze-dried foods, and insulated clothing. Nash said, “Getting to the wilderness was almost as difficult as traveling in it.” Transport revolution changed that with highways, cars, airplanes, and trains that made it easier to get to the wilderness locations. And lastly information revolution, which was once trial and error, is now $2.95 maps of routes and trails to take along with equipment lists of what you should bring into the wilderness.
This infographic shows camping and hiking gear now and then.
The overuse at the Grand Canyon is starting to become a problem. In 2014, it was visited by 4,564,840 people. The Colorado River is also extremely overused. These two places along with many more national parks and wilderness areas are beginning to reach their carrying capacity. “Loving wilderness to death” is becoming a real issue and something needs to be done about it.
These are some links about the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.
In class this week I really enjoyed what we had to do for our discussion board post. We had to visit a natural/wilderness setting for at least 20 minutes and write about what we saw, felt, and heard and then visit an urban setting and do the same thing. I went to the small city of Montclair for my urban setting and I did not really enjoy it. It was loud, full of cars and people, and had basically no nature or wilderness with the exception of a couple of trees planted down the sidewalk.
For the natural/wilderness setting I went on a hike with my dog, Jack, to the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, which is pretty close to my house. Besides the fact that it was pretty cold out, it was actually a very nice day. We walked all the way to Tripod Rock (a glacial erratic) and back around the mountain. It took about an hour and a half/two hours but it was totally worth every second. The woods were just so peaceful and there was no noise except for our footsteps through the thin layer of snow. It was so nice to finally relax and just be able to think clearly and enjoy the surroundings.
On the way to the rock we stopped at “Lucy’s Overlook”
It is really a shame how some man-made things like power lines can ruin the beautiful wilderness and nature. The sky looks really pretty in the background though 🙂
A couple days later I decided that I wanted to go out and hike again, so Jack and I went to the pretty overlook of Lake Valhalla right near our house. I have to go visit it again in the spring when the lake isn’t frozen. I am really glad that we had to do this assignment because I am enjoying and appreciating nature more than ever now (and my dog loves it) 🙂
Here are the links for Pyramid Mountain and the map of trails that we hiked.
This week we discussed what the meanings of nature and wilderness are to us and how they are similar and different. My opinion of nature and wilderness has definitely changed from the first day of class to now. It is amazing to me that these two words could mean so many different things for different people.
When this question was first brought to our attention I did a tiny bit of research and I came up with nature being everything around us from plants and animals to the landscape and atmosphere. I believed that humans were also nature but anything made by humans was not. Now after reading and discussing this topic further I have changed my definition. Nature is anything and everything. It can be plants, animals, landscape, humans, AND man-made items. We are nature therefore everything that we do should also be considered nature.
My definition of wilderness has also changed a bit. At first I thought that wilderness was only an uninhabited or “wild” area. I believed it could only be an area like a forest, desert, or anywhere that has been completely untouched and unaltered by humans. Now I see that I was totally wrong, or at least I think that my opinion was wrong. Wilderness can be the places that I have mentioned, but it can also be a huge city like New York where some animals, plants, and even humans cannot survive. It is not only these places but also anywhere that is “wild” or not natural to someone or something.
Of course my meaning of these words is not the same for everyone, as there is no concrete definition, but it is what I believe to be “correct. ” A wonderful quote from one of my classmates that sums up my beliefs on this is, “All wilderness is nature, but not all nature is wilderness.”
I really love this picture because it explains how we as humans think that we are better than nature, but really we are just a part of nature like everything else.