Wilderness is an integral part of the Federal land system. Since its inception in 1964, the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) has grown to more than ninety million acres. It presents a source of controversy to many in society, while to many others its existence is virtually unknown.
Among those who have an explicit interest in wilderness, there are often strong disagreements about its future. To some it provides society with important and valuable opportunities in recreation, science, education, spiritual growth, conservation, preservation of biodiversity, and rural economic stimulation. To others it is seen as a playground reserved for a small and relatively affluent segment of society, a source of lost jobs in the extractive industries, an impediment to economic development, and a violation of the private land ethic fundamental to American life.
Payne, Claire; Bowker, J. Michael; Reed, Patrick C. 1991. The Economic Value of Wilderness. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-78. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 330 p.