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How the National Marine Sanctuaries Act diverged from the Wilderness Act model and lost its way in the land of multiple useAuthor(s): William J. Chandler; Hannah Gillelan
Source: In: Watson, Alan; Sproull, Janet; Dean, Liese, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress symposium; September 30-October 6, 2005; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-49. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 573-578
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (265 B)
DescriptionThe fundamental flaw of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act is its lack of a singular focus on preservation. This conclusion is all the more obvious when it is compared to the Wilderness Act, enacted just eight years before. The stated objective of the Wilderness Act is to preserve roadless areas of “untrammeled” wilderness. More than 675 wilderness areas in 44 states have been designated under the Act’s auspices. The Wilderness Act has proved to be an effective conservation and management tool because it established: a clear national policy to preserve wilderness; a specific and practical definition of wilderness; a permanent wilderness preservation system; clear management guidelines for all wilderness areas, including a general prohibition on commercial enterprises, roads, and structures; a wilderness review process that included an inventory of all potential sites and a time limit for the executive branch to recommend suitable wilderness areas to Congress; and, Congress as the exclusive decision-maker on granting and removing wilderness area designations (Scott 2001). In contrast, the Sanctuaries Act lacks a central focus on preservation and a rigorous process to achieve it. Congress has never defined what constitutes a sanctuary system, vaguely identifies the Act’s purpose as protecting special areas of national significance, and does not outright prohibit any extractive uses. Guidelines do not exist as to where or how many sanctuaries must be established by the Secretary of Commerce, nor is there a requirement for a comprehensive survey to identify all potential sanctuaries.
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CitationChandler, William J.; Gillelan, Hannah. 2007. How the National Marine Sanctuaries Act diverged from the Wilderness Act model and lost its way in the land of multiple use. In: Watson, Alan; Sproull, Janet; Dean, Liese, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress symposium; September 30-October 6, 2005; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-49. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 573-578
Keywordswilderness, biodiversity, protected areas, economics, subsistence, tourism, traditional knowledge, community involvement, policy, stewardship, education, spiritual values
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