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E-M:/ Wilderness Act and Conservation Champion Celebrate Birthdays



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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Below is a national release from Sierra Club on the 40th Anniversary of
the Wilderness Act -- in Michigan there are: 10 National Forest
Wildernesses totaling about 90,000 acres, 3 National Wildlife Refuge
Wildernesses (Huron Islands, Michigan Islands and part of Seney National
Wildlife Refuge), and the vast majority of Isle Royale National Park,
our most spectacular Wilderness.  The threats to these wildernesses
continue, and there are areas which have long been in "wilderness study"
areas in Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshores.
The work of Wilderness protection and the need to prevent rollbacks
continues -- AW



For Immediate Release: September 16, 2004
Contact: Annie Strickler, (202) 675-2384

       Wilderness Act and Conservation Champion Celebrate Birthdays
 Wilderness Activists Gather in D.C. to Mark 40th Anniversary of
Landmark
       Law, Warn Against Bush Administration Threats to Wild Places

Washington, D.C. -- As hundreds of wilderness activists converge on the
nation's capital to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark
Wilderness Act, the Sierra Club is also pausing to celebrate the
birthday
of one of America's legendary wilderness champions. Dr. Edgar Wayburn, a
tenacious and tireless leader of the Sierra Club since the 1940s and
perhaps the least-known yet most successful defender of America's
natural
heritage, turns 98 on Friday.

"The 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act is a unique opportunity to
reflect on the spectacular places this legislation has helped us protect
and on the incredible stories of the people who fought so hard for the
wild
places they cherish," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director.
"Dr.
Wayburn is one of these amazing conservation heroes who has helped
safeguard some of the very best of wild America."

On Sunday night, Dr. Wayburn will receive the first-ever Howard C.
Zahniser
Lifetime Achievement Award, given to someone whose life of achievement
in
protecting wilderness most closely parallels those of the person
principally responsible for the Wilderness Act.

The Wilderness Act was signed on September 3, 1964 by President Lyndon
Johnson, and now protects more than 106 million acres in 650 areas in 44
states. This still represents just 5 percent of the nation's land mass,
with the need to move swiftly to protect America's public lands more
urgent
given the increasing threats to these landscapes.
The Bush administration declared in 2003 that the United States has
enough
wilderness. As a result, the Department of Interior issued a policy that
prevents federal land managers from taking inventory or protecting our
nation's remaining wilderness quality lands. Moreover, the Bush
Administration is pushing an aggressive policy to open these lands to
increased resource extraction - oil and gas development, logging, mining
and roadbuilding.

"As the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act,
the
pillars on which much of America's rich wilderness heritage is based are
crumbling under increased pressure," said Pope. "Bush administration
policies have left many wild places vulnerable to logging, mining, oil
and
gas drilling, road building and ORV abuse. The legacy of the Wilderness
Act
and the Ed Wayburns of the world is in grave danger."

Dr. Wayburn had a central role in the establishment of Redwood National
Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and in the passage of
the
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. For his visionary
achievements, he was honored with the Albert Schweitzer Prize for
Humanitarianism in 1995 and the prestigious Presidential Medal of
Freedom
in 1999. Dr. Wayburn's book, Your Land and Mine: Evolution of a
Conservationist, was published by Sierra Club Books last spring and
offers
an engaging portrait of an important and inspiring American life.

More than 350 wilderness conservation advocates -- representing nearly
every state -- will gather in Washington, DC September 18-22 to talk
about
protecting America's last wild places and to attend demonstrations and
events marking the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlands/anniversary.asp or
http://www.sierraclub.org/history/wayburn/.



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