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The word “wilderness” in America is generally identified with pristine places where humans are not among the primary influences on the land and its ecology. The American wilderness ethic creates a strict dichotomy between humans and nature. The Wilderness Preservation Act of 1964 defines wilderness 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” ( This statutory definition of wilderness is essentially the functional embodiment of the American wilderness ethic. Wilderness can also be interpreted in ways that incorporate humans as active players in the natural world. Land which is managed for human use but is uninhabited can be considered wilderness to some degree because “man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Wilderness, especially in the Northeast, can be visualized based on different land use characteristics. Conservation in the Northeast requires a redefinition of wilderness in order to incorporate land that has been utilized by humans.


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