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The Wilderness Group

The Wilderness Group seeks out ancient forests and tries to visit them, study them, and see that they are protected and properly managed. A special interest is in assuring that the research done on them is used. Wilderness areas are preserved for science. The group seeks to assure this objective is achieved...in addition to their many other uses. The financial base is memberships, tour fees, publications and maps, photography supplies, catered meals, field equipment, publications, art and photographs, and tourism services to other wilderness areas in the region, U.S. and international areas (see China Tour and Grandeer).

All of the activities of the Nature Folks are involved but the special emphases are on guided tours to ancient forests wherever they may be found. Select areas are likely to be on public lands but private areas are sought as well and landowners benefit from fees paid to them from visits.

Funds are sought for research in these areas, especially in cooperation with public and private groups. Active use (visits, studies, but not camping or potentially destructive work) is intended within Designated Wildland Natural Areas. These are similar to U.S. Forest Services "Research Natural Areas." Each Natural Area is highly protected. Their primary purpose or use is for monitoring, acquiring knowledge, education, and fostering the metaphysical benefits stated by many people, i.e., the values of "just knowing they are there and well tended." They are areas where some communities or natural features are preserved for scientific purposes and where natural processes are allowed to dominate. Their main purposes are to provide:

The guiding principles in managing these natural areas are to prevent unnatural encroachments or disturbances that directly or indirectly modify ecological processes or structures of the areas. Typically, logging or grazing are not allowed, neither is human use which threatens to prevent achieving the objectives of the areas in general or the specific objective of a particular area. Management practices are allowed. Studies of a non-destructive nature must not compromise the natural conditions. Limited, essential changes may be made and small samples may be removed. It is critical that the investments made in long-term studies on these areas not be lost to later disturbances (e.g., logging, roads, powerlines, etc.). Protection is essential, but he costs are high and thus the production of knowledge from the area is expected to be equal or greater in relative terms. Observers (1) need to obtain permission to use the area; (2) regulations need to be followed; (3) reports need to be completed (at least preliminary or "insurance" reports) regularly and soon after studies; (4) reports and photographs or images (published or not) need to be filed with the Natural Area administrator; (5) samples and photographs or images need to be cataloged and storage/disposition reported; (6) predictive models need to be attempted; (7) methods must be described so that they can be repeated or appropriate adjustment made for new technology used; (8) explanatory or historical models need to be created; (9) registered-mail notarized predictions need to be made to allow tests of the dynamics of predictive abilities of ecosystem diagnosticians.

The needs are to avoid impairing the sites for producing useful conclusions and to avoid conflicts among users (both current and with past or on-going studies).

Each Wildland Natural Area is administered as a unique area and decisions about uses are made case-by-case. A Wildland Natural Area may be within an ancient forest.

Descriptions, hopefully, will usually include:
  • Name
  • Date of establishment
  • Location (to within-state smallest scale)
  • Elevations
  • GIS map layers
  • General description-vegetation (community names)
  • Geologic strata
  • Administrative units
  • Access
  • Accommodations
  • Lakes, streams, wetlands
  • Topography
  • Temperature (max, mean, min., monthly)
  • First and last frost dates
  • Soils general
  • Wind
  • Precipitation
  • Solar radiation
  • Evapotranspiration and moisture index
  • Decomposition rates
  • Biomass estimates
  • Species list (dated)
  • Select abundance estimates
  • Forest types
  • Wetland types
  • Range types
  • Climax concepts
  • History of study
  • Students/researchers
  • Literature bibliography
  • History of disturbance
  • Human influences
  • Fire history
  • Maps (topographic, etc.)
  • Permanent plat descriptions
  • Picture point descriptions

Biology and other classes of students may visit and use the sites and contribute to a dynamic array of text files in the "Wilderness Book" on the web. Each file is about one of the above topics and has its own set of references and authors. "Expeditions" are encouraged to gain a variety of observations in a brief period on the listed topics.

Emphasis splits among The Tours Group, Camps, and Nature Folks.

Estimated development cost....$30,000

Estimated 5th year profits.....$50,000

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This Web site is maintained by R. H. Giles, Jr.
Last revision January 17, 2000.