Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In wildness is the preservation...

photo of autumn vista
© harrington
What do you think? Is this a photo of wilderness? There's no sign of human activity (other than the photographer). No powerlines or cell phone towers visible, not even any jet contrails. In My Minnesota, we should be able to talk intelligently about what's wilderness, since we're home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. A recent court decision will increase the cell phone coverage by allowing a tall cell phone tower that will be visible from within the wilderness area. Do cell phones belong in a wilderness? Would Jeremiah Johnson carry a cell phone? I know, we're not mountain men any more. So, according to the Wilderness Act of 1964, wilderness is “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man,..." But, one of the major protectors of wilderness areas in the US, the Bureau of Land Management, says on one of its web pages: "The majority of BLM Wilderness Areas allow some degradation of air quality associated with moderate industrial and population growth." That makes me think of the Monty Python scene where the Black Knight, having lost both arms in a battle with Arthur, insists "its just a flesh wound." Untrammeled means unrestricted or unrestrained. The area in the picture above is restricted by the township road from which the picture was taken. Is taking a cell phone into an area a restriction or restraint? When does a flesh wound become terminal?