Posted by: kellygiller | May 29, 2011

Wilderness vs. Nature

Throughout this week we have been discussing our views on the difference between nature and wilderness, and examining other people’s points of view as well. We then went into the changing view points early Americans had on wilderness. In the very beginning settlements wilderness was thought to be almost like a wild beast that must be tamed, or cultivated.  However this is where the definition between wilderness and wilderness come into play. The definition of wilderness compared to nature is something totally based on subjectivity. What one might consider wilderness is often very different to another persons, all based on their upbringing and their surroundings.  In the  Etiquette of freedom, Synder tries to give definitions of words that are all very similar however mean different things like wild, wilderness and nature. He then goes on to say that the etiquette of freedom are the lessons that we learn from nature. As the early settlers came into America the view points of wilderness followed them from their biblical beliefs that the wilderness was a scary untamed monster that should be avoided. However as these Puritans began to move westward their outlook on this untamed beast was changing. They came across many unseen natural wonders and their view points on nature started to change. As time continued more movements such as the Romantics, and Transcendentalists became more popular. This outlooks on life focused on minimal living with little possessions and appreciating nature and its many natural phenomena. One of the most famous Transcendentalists was Henry David Thoreau, is most well known for his book, Walden Pond. He here talks about his life in a primal living situation within what he considers wilderness. He wrote about his simple way of living. This book has gotten many people to think that life is happier when you are living simply without so many complications. All these movements allowed people’s outlooks on nature and the wilderness to change greatly in American culture. America today is known as having some of the most wilderness land. This land was preserved because of these early american thinkers who allowed their culture to realize how important wilderness is to us. Today we have hundreds of National Parks and and tons of preserved wilderness. I have attached a link to the newest national park in America, which is actually in my hometown of Woodstock, Vermont. I think it is very interesting because after all of our talks about describing what nature and wilderness are, I don’t really think that this piece of property is wilderness. This national park is the old mansion that Rockefeller owned. He donated the house and also the small piece of land behind his house that has hiking trails on it. I think it is interesting because although we haven’t really gotten into it yet, the National Parks today are mostly looked at as being large pieces of wilderness that have some sort of natural wonder to attract tourists and preserve the land.


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