Wilderness areas

COMMENTARY
A bighorn sheep in the Badlands Wilderness Area, within Badlands National Park in South Dakota. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

60 years later, the Wilderness Act still demands our restraint

BY: - February 22, 2024

When my friends and I encountered the fresh grizzly bear scat, we were deep in Wyoming’s Teton Wilderness, 20 miles from a trailhead. I’d seen grizzlies before — from the car. But this experience was on a whole other level. I felt vulnerable, nervous. I also felt fully alive. That feeling owes much to the […]

COMMENTARY
A volunteer from the town of Interior rescues a dog in the Badlands in 2019. (Courtesy of Interior Fire Department)

Solutions needed as societal changes strain wilderness rescue teams

BY: - June 20, 2023

When I was leading groups into the Wyoming wilderness in the 1990s, once we left a trailhead we were on own. If somebody got hurt, we could walk or carry the injured person out or send runners to the road to call for support. In the case of a life- or limb-threatening emergency, we could […]

COMMENTARY
A climber at The Grotto, a popular rock-climbing area in California. (Casey Batchelder/Bureau of Reclamation, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Wilderness areas need restraint, not climbing hardware

BY: - June 12, 2023

We humans want the most out of life, so why shouldn’t we push to get more of what we want?  That’s what some rock climbers must be thinking. They want to enter designated wilderness areas in order to drill permanent anchors into wilderness rock faces, turning these wild places into sport-climbing walls.  When the Wilderness […]