100 years ago, in 1909, Aldo Leopold first traveled to the American Southwest. What he discovered there -- in the land and in himself -- would change the world. Here, he was inspired to conceive of and campaign for the first designated Wilderness:
Aldo Leopold: "Forester and wildlife manager - outdoorsman - ecologist - philosopher and practical idealist - interpreter of nature - pioneer in wilderness preservation. He taught an ethic of the land and by his teaching, writing, and example gave added depth, breadth, and insight to conservation. Overlooking the Gila Wilderness, which he helped establish - First National Forest area so designated - this tablet is here placed by the Wilderness Society, of which he was a founder. Dedicated as a tribute to him for the National Wilderness Preservation System he helped create - in the thirty-first year of this System, September 12, 1954."
"Man always kills the thing he loves, and so we pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?" -A. Leopold
"Wilderness areas are first of all a series of sanctuaries for the primitive arts of wilderness travel...I suppose some will wish to debate whether it is important to keep these primitive arts alive. I shall not debtate it. Either you know it in your bones, or you are very, very old." - A. Leopold