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Ten Wilderness Areas on Vacation Must-Visit Lists in Trouble

April 22, 2008

Des Moines, IA – Many Iowans are making summer vacation plans that include visiting wilderness areas across the country, but on this 38th Earth Day, a new report lists 10 wild areas nationwide in danger of losing their wilderness qualities. The report, from the Campaign for America's Wilderness, calls for federal wilderness designation for currently-unprotected wild lands that are vulnerable to mining, development and off-road vehicle abuse.

Mike Matz with the Campaign says all those things are taking a toll on these wild places.

"It sounds unbelievable, but experts tell us that we lose 6,000 acres of open space every single day. That amounts to about four acres a minute."

Matz says that, outside of Alaska, only 2.5 percent of America's wilderness has permanent protection from mining, drilling, road building, logging, development, and illegal off-road vehicle use.

"We should have the good sense to protect some of these special places to give as a natural legacy to our children and grandchildren."

He says the report also highlights efforts of local citizens to help save the endangered areas. Congress is considering wilderness designations in such places as Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

To view the full report online, visit

Dick Layman/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - IA