Smithsonian Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Act with “Wilderness Forever” Exhibition

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The Wilderness Act, a cornerstone of America’s conservation laws, marks its 50th anniversary Sept. 3. The act established the National Wilderness Preservation System that represents America’s most wild and pristine federally protected lands. Today, these lands encompass 758 wilderness areas covering more than 109 million acres in 44 states and Puerto Rico. Together, they represent the largest, most highly protected body of wild lands in the country.

To celebrate this important anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has opened the photography exhibition, “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” which runs through summer 2015.

The exhibition is complemented by the premiere of the Smithsonian Channel program, “Aerial America: Wilderness,” which airs nationally beginning Sept. 7 at 9 p.m.

“Wilderness Forever” is a juried photography competition that celebrates the majesty, diversity and value of the nation’s wilderness areas. More than 5,000 entries were submitted by professional, amateur and youth photographers from across the nation and world. Fifty winning entries will be displayed as awe-inspiring large-format prints. The exhibition also features a fossil skull of Bistahieversor sealeyi, a species of tyrannosaur discovered on wilderness lands; interactive touch-screen maps of wilderness created by Esri; and stories that highlight the importance of protecting wilderness.

Part of the Smithsonian Channel’s popular Aerial America series, “Aerial America: Wilderness” provides a bird’s eye view of some of America’s most spectacular wilderness areas while weaving an inspiring tale about the people, events and places that made the landmark Wilderness Act possible.

The exhibition was developed in conjunction with Nature’s Best Photography and Wilderness50, a coalition of government agencies, conservation and community organizations and academic institutions collectively celebrating the anniversary nationwide.

Visitors can learn more about the exhibition and vote for their favorite photos at Smithsonian.com.

Media only

Kelly Carnes   

(202) 633-2950;
carnesk@si.edu

Josh Gross      

(212) 708-1578

Related photos: 

Wilderness Forever: Alaska Range

Tim Aiken, age 18, Stanford, California, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

Wintry peaks of the Alaska Range are reflected in a pristine pool of water in the high tundra. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: Aurora Ridge Trail

Pablo McLoud, Honokaa, Hawaii, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

An inviting path winds around the Aurora Ridge Trail in Sol Duc Valley, Olympic Wilderness, Washington. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: brown bear

Robert Amoruso, Orlando, Florida, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

A brown bear found in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska holds a freshly caught salmon in its mouth. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: Lone Paddler

Dawn M. LaPointe, Hermantown, Minnesota, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

A lone paddler watches the sun set upon the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: Milky Way

Joe LeFevre, Oswego, New York, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

The Milky Way sparkles over Second Beach in the Olympic Wilderness, Washington. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: mountain goats

Verdon Tomajko, Superior, Colorado, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

A herd of mountain goats huddle together on top of Mount Evans, Colorado during a lightning storm. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: Proxy Falls

Thomas Goebel, age 18, Jensen Beach, Florida, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

Proxy Falls cascade down towards the moss-covered forest of Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: Red Fox

red fox

Dee Ann Pederson Houston, Texas, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

A Red Fox frolicking in the fall colors of Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. This photo was selected out of more than 5,000 entries to go on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places,” a new photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which will run through summer 2015.

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Wilderness Forever: Snowy Owl

Scott Joshua Dere, Cedarhurst, New York, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

An adult male Snowy Owl, wide awake at the day’s first light in Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness Area, New York.

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Wilderness Forever: White Pocket tower

Richard Ansley, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA/Courtesy of National Museum of Natural History

Colorful twisted petrified sand dunes of White Pocket tower over Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in Arizona.

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