The Wilderness Act of 1964 and the wilderness preservation policy network

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Abstract

The US Wilderness Act of 1964 is viewed as the result of pluralist politics, with a coalition of environmental groups taking the political lead in the formation and enactment of this legislation. The Wilderness Society and its executive secretary, Howard Zahniser, are particularly credited with formulating the Wilderness Act and cultivating the political coalition among environmental groups that led to the passage of this legislation. The dominant role of economic elites in the shaping and enactment of the Wilderness Act explains why it and the policy it spawned are flawed instruments for protecting the environment. As a result of economic elite dominance, the ideas underlying the creation of the Wilderness Act of 1964 were firstly, a notion of wilderness as recreational opportunity, and secondly, a conception of wildlife protection that emphasized the preservation of wilderness that has special scientific or aesthetic qualities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-52
Number of pages22
JournalCapitalism, Nature, Socialism
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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