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"The Wilderness Act: Arizonans Keeping It Wild for 50 Years" (exhibit)

<p>Cover illustration (detail) from “Moulding Public Opinion To Help Save Our Trees” by Mabel Louise Mills, 1927, Special Collections</p>

Cover illustration (detail) from “Moulding Public Opinion To Help Save Our Trees” by Mabel Louise Mills, 1927, Special Collections

Dates: August 25, 2014 - September 26, 2014

Location:   Special Collections

Contact: Bob Diaz


A new exhibit at the University of Arizona showcases how, 50 years after becoming law, the Wilderness Act continues to benefit the American people by ensuring millions of acres of public land are available for recreation, exploration and inspiration. “The Wilderness Act: Arizonans Keeping It Wild for 50 Years” is on display from Aug. 25 – Sept. 26 in Special Collections, 1510 E. University Blvd.

An opening reception with guest speaker Meg Weesner, retired National Park Service professional, will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 2 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., also in Special Collections. The exhibit and event are free and open to the public.

The exhibit features original material from Special Collections including maps, books, archival documents and photographs from the collections of Edward Abbey and Stewart and Morris Udall. Meg Weesner, 50th anniversary coordinator for Tucson, and Bob Diaz, librarian at UA Special Collections, co-curated the exhibit.

Signed into law in September 1964, the Wilderness Act designated more than 9 million acres of land as areas where earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control and where people are visitors.

Today more than 109 million acres of federally owned land are designated as wilderness areas. The state of Arizona has 90 wilderness areas covering more than 4.5 million acres. The largest area is Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge near Ajo, the smallest is Baboquivari Peak Wilderness 50 miles southwest of Tucson.

Local and national celebrations of the Wilderness Act seek to increase support for responsible wild lands stewardship, to bring wilderness communities together as caretakers of wilderness lands and to connect today’s youth with wild places.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary, the city of Tucson, Pima County and the town of Oro Valley will issue proclamations designating September as Wilderness Month.

More information about national celebrations is available at: www.wilderness50th.org

Watch our exhibit preview video.