Celebrating 50 Years of American Wilderness

U.S. Forest Service and Alaska partners begin year-long celebration of 50th anniversary of Wilderness Act

Voices of the Wilderness traveling art exhibit - The first of many events scheduled for 2014

An exhibit of wilderness-inspired Alaskan art opens this week at the Sitka National Historical Park, kicking off a year-long celebration of wilderness in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act.

Voices of the Wildernessis a traveling art exhibit that features a wide range of artwork, including photography, music, poetry, and paintings created by participants in artist-in-residence programs hosted by agencies that manage federally designated wilderness. The exhibit is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Voices of the Wilderness exhibit is one of many events and activities the U.S. Forest Service will sponsor in Alaska this year to celebrate the Wilderness Act, which endorsed the idea of “untrammeled” public wildlands in 1964 and secured the wilderness heritage that Americans now enjoy.

In Alaska, Congressionally designated wilderness makes up one-third of the lands on the Tongass National Forest, where 19 separate wilderness areas cover 5.8 million acres in Southeast. The Chugach National Forest manages the Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area, which encompasses more than one-third of that forest in South-central Alaska.

To foster understanding and enjoyment of wilderness areas on the Tongass and Chugach, the Forest Service will sponsor numerous events and products this year:

  • The Voices of the Wilderness art exhibit will continue its run at venues in Ketchikan, Juneau, Fairbanks, Homer, Kenai, and Anchorage throughout the year.
  • The Meaning of Wild, a 30-minute film that features stunning footage from four wilderness areas on the Tongass, will screen in numerous communities in Alaska during the coming year, including Juneau, Anchorage, and Ketchikan.
  • The annual Chugach and Tongass poster series will highlight Forest Service wilderness in Alaska. Watch for the release of these commemorative posters in late March.
  • A wilderness boat excursion will explore the Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area in late May.
  • Chugach Children’s Forest youth expeditions and teacher trainings in the Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area are slated for this summer.
  • In partnership with Alaska Geographic and the National Park Service, the Forest Service will develop a series of wilderness stories to debut this fall.

Watch for more information on these and additional events at: