Chapter Outline

I. Wilderness Preservation

Discussion Questions

1. What rationale does Frederick Law Olmsted give for the preservation of parks? Why did the railroads wish to preserve national parks? What were some other reasons for preservation?

2. What is wild? What is a wilderness? How has the concept of wilderness changed over the course of American history? How did American Indians view wilderness? Is the concept of wilderness ethnocentric?

3. What are some of the values of wilderness according to Roderick Nash? What social groups were excluded from the wilderness experience at the turn of the century? In what ways has this availability changed?

4. Compare and contrast Isabella Bird's response to nature in the Rockies with the lumber industry's response to the California Redwoods. Did or could lumberers appreciate the beauty of the forest?

5. In what ways and for what reasons does Mary Austin find the desert remarkable? Should deserts be preserved? Why?

6. Examine the development of a Romantic-aesthetic strain of nature appreciation in America during the 19th century. How are American romanticism, transcendentalism, and conservation exemplified in the ideas of John Muir?

7. Give reasons why the conservation and preservation sentiments of the late 19th century arose when and where they did. Why do many preservationists, both past and present, regard their environmental values as "non-negotiable"? Is this a useful attitude?

8. Is there a tendency in this country to equate the rustic and pioneer life with masculine virility? What environmental problems might arise from such a view?