Monday, August 26, 2013

Environmental History Timeline September 3, 1964

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law The Wilderness Act of 1964

Next year, September 3, 2014 is the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Bill was first introduced to the Senate by Minnesota's Senator Hubert Humphrey in 1956. Post war American growth had made new inroads deep into wild spaces. Concern grew as careless use and exploitation spread through America's remaining pristine wilderness areas.

The 88th Congress, the "conservation congress," passed the Wilderness Act establishing a Wilderness Preservation System with an initial 9 million acres set aside to secure the ecological and social benefits of an enduring wilderness resource for the American people.
benefits of an enduring wilderness resource to the American people. - See more at: of  for future generations a continuing resource of wilderness.

LBJ signs Wilderness Act of 1964 into law concluding an eight year debate, credits 88th Congress, labeled "conservation congress".

Excerpt from Remarks Upon Signing the Wilderness Bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Bill.

"Anyone that objectively studies the record of the 88th Congress I think would have to conclude that another historic era has begun this year. If the 88th had not earned already so many honorable titles, such as the education Congress, the health Congress, the full prosperity Congress, it would be remembered as the conservation Congress, because in addition to the measures before me this morning, Congress has wisely this year passed the Ozark Rivers National Riverway bill, which I signed last week; the Fire Island National Seashore bill, which is awaiting action; the Canyonlands National Park legislation, which I expect to sign shortly, creating our first new national park on this continent in 17 years. But Congress has done even more. Action has been taken to keep our air pure and our water safe and our food free from pesticides; to protect our wildlife; to conserve our precious water resources. No single Congress in my memory has done so much to keep America as a good and wholesome and beautiful place to live. I think it is significant that these steps have broad support not just from the Democratic Party, but the Republican Party, both parties in the Congress. For example, the wilderness bill has been before the Congress since 1957, but it passed this year 73 to 12 in the Senate, and 373 to 1 in the House. So it seems to me that this reflects a new and a strong national consensus to look ahead, and, more than that, to plan ahead; better still, to move ahead. We know that America cannot be made strong by leadership which reacts only to the needs or the irritations or the frustrations of the moment. True leadership must provide for the next decade and not merely the next day. That is the kind of leadership that this Congress is providing."
Lyndon B. Johnson: "Remarks Upon Signing the Wilderness Bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Bill.," September 3, 1964. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

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