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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

Clinging to wilderness, pristine or not

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Yes, indigenous peoples in many regions, including Puget Sound, altered the landscape (HCN, 9/19/11, "The mirage of the pristine"). Pristine? Maybe not, but that is no reason to reject conservation. The reason I cling to scraps of wilderness, however fictional that term may be, is that they are irreplaceable. I spend a considerable amount of time in "wilderness areas" because they are qualitatively different from more drastically altered landscapes such as city parks, farms and recently logged timberlands. But thanks for prompting me to ask, "Why do I care about those places I've been taught to call wilderness?"

Nels Flesher
Gig Harbor, Washington

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