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wilderness quotes

Wilderness Quotes

Famous quotes about the wilderness are a source of inspiration that remind us of where we came from and where we are going. We've compiled an extensive list of wilderness quotes from several different important men and women in history as an educational resource. We hope you find the value in the wisdom of these amazing people and take your own steps toward improving our environment for future generations.

This is a quote from the United States Congress when they passed The Wilderness Act of 1964:

"A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized 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."


Wilderness Quotes (alphabetical order):


Edward Abbey (Wilderness Quotes):

"But love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need - if only we had eyes to see."

"I come more and more to the conclusion that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing left that is worth saving."

"The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders."

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit."

Suggested readings: Desert Solitaire, The Monkey Wrench Gang, Down The River

Rachel Carson (Wilderness Quotes):

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter."

Suggested readings: Silent Spring, The Sea Around Us

Crowfoot (Blackfoot) (Wilderness Quotes):

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."

Black Elk (Oglala Sioux) (Wilderness Quotes):

"Is not the sky a father and the earth a mother, and are not all living things with feet or wings or roots their children?"

Ralph Waldo Emerson (Wilderness Quotes):

"The greatest wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more."

"The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood."

Suggested reading: Nature

Aldo Leopold (Wilderness Quotes):

"Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization."

"Wilderness is a resource which can shrink but not grow... the creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible."

"For unnumbered centuries of human history the wilderness has given way. The priority of industry has become dogma. Are we as yet sufficiently enlightened to realize that we must now challenge that dogma, or do without our wilderness? Do we realize that industry, which has been our good servant, might make a poor master?"

"The outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio, but rather the complexity of the land organism. Only those who know the most about it can appreciate how little we know about it. The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: "What good is it?" If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering."

Suggested readings: A Sand County Almanac, Round River

John Muir (Wilderness Quotes):

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

"In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness."

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

"Wilderness is not only a haven for native plants and animals but it is also a refuge from society. Its a place to go to hear the wind and little else, see the stars and the galaxies, smell the pine trees, feel the cold water, touch the sky and the ground at the same time, listen to coyotes, eat the fresh snow, walk across the desert sands, and realize why its good to go outside of the city and the suburbs. Fortunately, there is wilderness just outside the limits of the cities and the suburbs in most of the United States, especially in the West."

Suggested reading: Our National Parks (John Muir), John of the Mountains (by Linnie Wolfe)

Margaret Murie (Wilderness Quotes):

"I hope the United States of America is not so rich that she can afford to let these wildernesses pass by, or so poor she cannot afford to keep them."

Suggested reading: Two in the Far North

President Theodore Roosevelt (Wilderness Quotes):

"…short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things..."

Chief Seattle (Suquamish) (Wilderness Quotes):

"Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them."

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) (Wilderness Quotes):

"…the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not."

Suggested reading: The Lorax

Henry David Thoreau (Wilderness Quotes):

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

"The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World."

"This curious world we inhabit…is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used."

Suggested readings: Walden, Walking

Terry Tempest Williams (Wilderness Quotes):

"If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go.... This is the story of our past and it will be the story of our future."