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Despite modern man’s seeming determination to inhabit virtually every corner of the globe, designated wilderness areas in the United States are largely being spared from the impacts of human development.

West Sedona’s Long Canyon, is a wonderful wilderness hike with amazing cliff views and access to ancient Indian ruins. Wilderness areas have a high traffic flow from visiting tourists, and the Forest Service requests that hikers respect the principles of Leave No Trace.So said Lorena Williams, a forestry technician with the Red Rock Ranger District who gave a presentation about the district’s seven wilderness areas on Friday, Aug. 2, at the South Gateway Visitor Center.

As the Wilderness Act of 1964 stated: Wilderness is “an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

The Wilderness Act, which was written by Howard Zahniser and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States and initially protected 9.1 million acres of federal land.

Since that time, the amount of wilderness has grown almost every year and now includes more than 109 million acres in 44 states and Puerto Rico — an area larger than the state of California.

Arizona has more than 4.5 million acres of wilderness, the fourth most of any state.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 7 issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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