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 Contact: Mark Allison; 505-843-8696, ext. 105

Largest concentration of wilderness advocates in the world convene to talk about the past, present and future of wilderness in America

Albuquerque—Nov. 7, 2014—New Mexico could now be considered the headquarters of the wilderness protection movement.

The single greatest concentration of wilderness advocates on the planet gathered in Albuquerque in October to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in the birthplace of the concept of wilderness—New Mexico.

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance was proud to co-host this historic event. A conference of its kind has not taken place in 25 years.

The Gila Wilderness was the world’s first designated wilderness in 1924. The state has also been home to a number of people who were essential to the wilderness movement:

  • Edgar Lee Hewitt, who authored what became known as the Antiquities Act
  • Aldo Leopold, whose vision and efforts led to the creation of the Gila Wilderness in 1924
  • Senator Clinton P. Anderson, the floor manager of the Wilderness Act
  • Private citizens like Ed Abbey, environmentalist and author

“We’re proud of the special role that New Mexico has played,” said Mark Allison, executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “During this special anniversary year, we want to remind ourselves why wilderness is essential, honor the vision and efforts of those who came before us and renew our commitment to preserve additional deserving lands now under threat.”

With only about 2 percent of qualifying wilderness in New Mexico federally protected, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance works on the ground to fight for more protected wilderness within the Land of Enchantment.

“The National Wilderness Conference left us rejuvenated, and we rededicated ourselves to protecting the wild lands we still have left,” Allison said.