“ Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.”
"If there is a greatness to the American spirit, a spirit aligned with freedom and faith, surely its origin is to be found in the expanse of landscapes that have nurtured us: coastlines, woodlands, wetlands, prairies, mountains and deserts."
Do you know how it feels to sleep outside under a pitch-black sky glittering with stars? Have you walked in silent reflection in a high alpine meadow in a gentle breeze?
To experience wilderness is to know one of this country's greatest treasures. Forever Wild captures the glory of undeveloped, wild places through stunning images and the passionate tales of America’s modern wilderness heroes – volunteers from New Hampshire to California who work to preserve a legacy of wilderness for all of us to enjoy, forever.
Have you ever wondered about the difference between public lands managed as wilderness and those managed as National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests or Rangeland?
There are 628 million acres of public land in America. These are lands owned by all Americans. Most of this land is managed by federal agencies to support a wide variety of uses: motorized recreation, logging, grazing, hard rock mining, energy development, quiet recreation, hunting and fishing. But wilderness is different.
On September 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, and for the first time in human history a society created a law to keep the wildest lands wild and save part of the world from the dominion of man.
Approximately 17 percent of the public land in the United States is protected as wilderness. Half of this is in Alaska. In the words of the Wilderness Act, “ A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” These lands are the sources of clean water, clean air and healthy habitat. Wilderness is a refuge, a quiet escape in a crowded and changing world.
Since the passage of the Wilderness Act 45 years ago, nearly 110 million acres of America’s most pristine public lands and waterways have been protected by law. The struggle to pass the Act, and the 45 years of grassroots campaigns putting the Act to use, constitute one of the best stories of American democracy at work, and testify to the power of determined individuals in a free society.
Have you taken a hike in wilderness, or driven to the edge and looked in? Have you thought about how herds of migratory animals or large, roaming predators need large ecosystems in order to survive? Do you wonder how it would feel to be American with a legacy of wilderness that belongs to you, to all of us?
Forever Wild: Celebrating America’s Wilderness tells the tales of citizens who have decided what wilderness means to them. They have dedicated time and energy to helping protect the lands they love as wilderness. Robert Redford, himself a strong supporter of wilderness, hosts the film. Mr. Redford’s narration, together with original music and the moving prose of Terry Tempest Williams, read by the author, guide the viewer through an examination of America’s commitment to wilderness preservation, and the values we hold dear in protecting these wild lands.
Forever Wild educates audiences about the ever-present pressures to develop the last remnants of wild land left in America and offers viewers an opportunity to reflect on the importance of protecting wilderness so that our children may experience the same wild places.
Forever Wild is a production of First Light Films. The award-winning production company creates compelling and entertaining educational films that illuminate critical environmental and social issues. KQED Presents will release the program for national broadcast beginning in September 2009.
"Raw wild beauty is a deeply held American value. It is its own Declaration of Independence.... equality is experienced through humility, and liberty is expressed through the simple act of wandering."
About the Film
Terry Tempest Williams
Reviews & Broadcast