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Drawing Lines in the Forest: Creating Wilderness Areas in the Pacific Northwestby Kevin Marsh
Synopses & Reviews
Drawing boundaries around wilderness areas often serves a double purpose: protection of the land within the boundary and release of the land outside the boundary to resource extraction and other development. In Drawing Lines in the Forest, Kevin R. Marsh discusses the roles played by various groups—the Forest Service, the timber industry, recreationists, and environmentalists—in arriving at these boundaries. He shows that pragmatic, rather than ideological, goals were often paramount, with all sides benefiting. After World War II, representatives of both logging and recreation use sought to draw boundaries that would serve to guarantee access to specific areas of public lands. The logging industry wanted to secure a guaranteed supply of timber, as an era of stewardship of the nation's public forests gave way to an emphasis on rapid extraction of timber resources. This spawned a grassroots preservationist movement that ultimately challenged the managerial power of the Forest Service. The Wilderness Act of 1964 provided an opportunity for groups on all sides to participate openly and effectively in the political process of defining wilderness boundaries. The often contentious debates over the creation of wilderness areas in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington represent the most significant stages in the national history of wilderness conservation since World War II: Three Sisters, North Cascades and Glacier Peak, Mount Jefferson, Alpine Lakes, French Pete, and the state-wide wilderness acts of 1984.
Book News Annotation:
Through case studies of debates over wilderness boundaries in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington, Marsh (history, Idaho State U., Pocatello) traces issues of national land use/ conservation policy and economics since World War II. Arguing that pragmatic concerns over ecological integrity and biodiversity more than ideological notions of pristine wilderness have motivated environmentalists, he concludes that wilderness designations have benefitted both preservation and logging interests. The book is part of a series called Weyerhaeuser environmental books (Weyerhaeuser is a major timberland owner and producer of forest products in the Pacific Northwest). Maps and b&w photos of contested areas, uses, and stakeholders are included. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Drawing boundaries around wildlands serves a double purpose--both protection of the land within the boundary and release of the land outside the boundary to resource extraction and development. This book looks at the process of establishing those boundaries and the roles played by various groups--the U.S. Forest Service, timber companies, recreationists, and environmentalists.
About the Author
Kevin R. Marsh is assistant professor of history at Idaho State University in Pocatello.
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