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What is Wilderness?

As you navigate through the panorama, identify the elements that you consider "wilderness." What indicators of "civilization" can you find? Where in the panorama is there "real wilderness"? Civilization? Where does civilization end and wilderness begin? How does "wilderness" differ from "the wild?" Should areas such as those in the panorama be set aside? Why?

Read the wilderness quotations in the linked document. Is the wilderness represented in the panorama real? Is it "incarcerated?" Ethnocentric? Socially constructed? Virtual? How should we value wilderness and how important is it to have "pristine" areas? How much would you pay for wilderness? Is there a way to end the dualism between wilderness and civilization?

Then write a paragraph or two responding to the panorama, the quotations, and the above questions entitled, "What is wilderness?" to bring to class.


In order to view this panorama, you need to have Quicktime 3.0 or greater installed on your PC or Macintosh. You can download it here if you do not yet have it.


Click and immediately use your mouse to pan across or tilt the image. To zoom in,
hold down the shift key; to zoom out, hold down the control key.

Credits: Photographs--Cassiar Highway in northern British Columbia, by Carolyn Merchant;
panorama assembly and web page by Rob Weinberg.