2014 Lecture Series

Room to Roam: 50 Years of Wilderness

Policy, Practice, Protection, and Passion 

Fifty years ago, our nation’s leaders formally acknowledged the immediate and lasting benefits of wild places to the human spirit and the fabric of our nation.   On September 3rd, 1964, Congress enacted landmark legislation that permanently protected 9.1 million acres of the most natural and undisturbed places in America.  

As the capstone to decades of grassroots activism and hard-fought political compromise, the 1964 Wilderness Act is one of the most successful U.S. environmental laws, standing for almost 50 years without a substantial amendment, and continuing to be the guiding piece of legislation for the 106 million acres in today’s National Wilderness Preservation System. 

This lecture series celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by bringing voice to some of the stories, challenges, opportunities, and dilemmas that texture the past, present and future of American Wilderness.  

January 28:
"Montana’s Wilderness: A Thirty-Five year dilemma"
Pat Williams, former Montana Congressman

February 4:
"Can we keep Wilderness wild? The future of science, research, and managementon our public lands"
Kevin Hood, Wilderness Manager USDA Forest Service Alaska Region and Dr. Andrew Larson, UM Forestry Professor 

February 11:
"Wilderness: Where we have come from and where we are going”
Hal Herring, award-winning journalist, writer, and editor

February 18:
“Getting beyond rock and Ice: Prairie wildlands and the next fifty years of 
conservation under the Big Sky”
Panelists Rick Potts, refuge manager for Charles M. Russell NWR, Cameron Sapp, MWA Prairie Program Coordinator, and Hugo Turek, Montana rancher

February 25:
“Wilderness: The Heartbeat of Nature and Soul of Humanity”
Gloria Flora, 
director and founder of Sustainable Obtainable Solutions and former USDA Forest Service Region 1 supervisor

March 4:
Public address on Forest Service Wilderness Areas by Chief of the US Forest Service, 
Thomas Tidwell

March 11:
“The Real People’s Lands: Tribal Wilderness indigenous lands, and their future”
Wilderness managers, advocates, and local tribal representatives

March 18:
“Wilderness strategies in the 21st century”
Panel discussion with George Nickas, 
Director of Wilderness Watch, Peter Aengst, Director of The Wilderness Society Northern Rockies Program, and Martha Williams, Assistant Professor of Law and former Deputy Solicitor Parks and Wildlife for the United States Department of the Interior

March 25:
“Mountains and rivers are myself turned inside-out: Tales of the wild”
James Duncan, author, essayist, fly-fisher, public speaker, and river guardian