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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Urging the Addition of New Areas to the Nation's Wilderness System

March 29, 1968

Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker:)

Inevitably, our work as public leaders affects not only us but our posterity. It may be that our most important constituents are not our contemporaries, but the men and women who will inherit America from us in twenty years or fifty years.

Our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren will live in a different America from the one we know; but it will be an America we have helped to build. They will work in buildings and factories we erect; travel on highways we lay out; live in cities and suburbs we construct; seek solace and recreation in parks and wilderness areas we preserve.

So we must build well now.

Unless we do, much of the wild and beautiful America that we know and our grandfathers knew will be lost forever--buried in the debris of our hurrying civilization.

Last year, I recommended that Congress incorporate four areas into the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Last week, it was my pleasure to sign into law an act setting aside the first of the preserves: the San Rafael Wilderness Area.

Now I am urging that Congress consider making 26 additions to the Nation's wilderness system--additions totaling 977,081 acres. They come from our national forests, from the National Wildlife Refuges and from the National Parks and Monuments System.

The proposed new wilderness areas are:

--The Mt. Baldy Wilderness in Arizona.

--The Pine Mountain Wilderness in Arizona.

--The Petrified Forest Wilderness in Arizona.

--The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness in Arizona.

--The Desolation Wilderness in California.

--The Lassen Volcanic Wilderness in California.

--The Lava Beds Wilderness in California.

--The Pinnacles Wilderness in California.

--The Ventana Wilderness in California.

--The Flat Tops Wilderness in Colorado.

--The Cedar Keys Wilderness in Florida.

--The Island Bay Wilderness in Florida.

--The Passage Key Wilderness in Florida.

--The Pelican Island Wilderness in Florida.

--The Okefenokee Wilderness in Georgia.

--The Craters of the Moon Wilderness in Idaho.

--The Edmunds Wilderness in Maine.

--The Birch Islands Wilderness in Maine.

--The Monomoy Island Wilderness in Massachusetts.

--The Huron Islands Wilderness in Michigan.

--The Michigan Islands Wilderness in Michigan.

--The Seney Wilderness in Michigan.

--The Spanish Peaks Wilderness in Montana.

--The Great Swamp Wilderness in New Jersey.

--The Wichita Mountains Wilderness in Oklahoma.

--The Wisconsin Islands Wilderness in Wisconsin.

In support of each recommendation, I am transmitting a letter and a report from the Secretary of Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture.

There was a day when "conservation" was regarded as an activity far removed from the workaday world of most Americans or work for forest rangers and game wardens. No longer. Many of these areas, as you will note, are close to the centers of American population. They can and will be enjoyed by millions of our people seeking the solitude and splendor of the land as God made it. So they are a trust and a responsibility for all of us.

I urge Congress to give prompt and favorable consideration to these proposals.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

For statements or remarks upon signing related legislation, see Items 502, 505, 510, 547.

The San Rafael Wilderness was approved by the President on March 21, 1968 (see Item 150).

The San Gabriel Wilderness was approved on May 24, 1968 (Public Law 90-318, 82 Stat. 131).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Urging the Addition of New Areas to the Nation's Wilderness System Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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