Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, encompasses 1,075 square kilometers (415 square miles) of pristine mountain wilderness.

Photograph by Chris Martin, My Shot
  • On Sept. 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into federal law. The Wilderness Act gave a lovely legal definition to the word “wilderness”—“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.”

    Today, the Wilderness Act protects more than 106 million acres of land. These lands include national parks and monuments, national forests, and areas administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    administer Verb

    to manage or supervise.

    dominate Verb

    to overpower or control.

    federal Adjective

    having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

    landscape Noun

    the geographic features of a region.

    Encyclopedic Entry: landscape
    national park Noun

    geographic area protected by the national government of a country.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    wilderness Noun

    environment that has remained essentially undisturbed by human activity.

    Encyclopedic Entry: wilderness