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New Book Highlights Importance of Preserving S. Dakota's Wild Lands

June 10, 2009

Seattle, Wash. - A leading historian of the nation's wilderness movement has released a new photo tribute that highlights the beauty of America's wilderness and explains why it's important to preserve these lands. South Dakota is featured in the book Our Wilderness: America's Common Ground.

Author Doug Scott is also policy director for the nonprofit Campaign for America's Wilderness. He says the nation offers a treasure trove of wild lands to explore, and he believes everyone has an obligation to protect it.

"In designating wilderness areas, we - as a society - are saying we choose not to extend roads and other kinds of development into every area in the country. We're going to save some, so that future generations can know what the original America looked like."

Scott wants his photo primer to help people gain a deeper appreciation for nature. He's hopeful it will also encourage them to go exploring on their own - whether it's South Dakota's 71,000 acres of wild grasslands, or wilderness areas in other parts of the country.

"I would like more Americans to appreciate that we have this wonderful heritage of wilderness areas, and that the way they've been protected has been by participation of ordinary, everyday citizens, getting involved in the political process to help encourage their congressmen and senators to see these lands designated."

Scott, who says he has been involved in every major wilderness bill passed in the last four decades, credits Congress' bipartisan efforts with preserving more than 700 wilderness areas in the past 45 years. Most recently, the list includes the Omnibus Public Lands bill, which added more than two million acres to the national wilderness preservation system.

The book is available online at www.ourwilderness.org.

David Law, Public News Service - SD