Why do we need the wild?

Listen 48:41
Animals use underpasses and overpasses to safely cross the Trans-Canada Highway. Researchers have found that different critters prefer different kinds of structures. (Courtesy of Highwaywilding.org)

Animals use underpasses and overpasses to safely cross the Trans-Canada Highway. Researchers have found that different critters prefer different kinds of structures. (Courtesy of Highwaywilding.org)

Being in nature is restorative; the wild can feed your soul. But, for hundreds of years, we pushed west across the country, trampling and displacing wildlife along the way. Later, lots of people woke up to the effects of urban sprawl and industrialization. And, in 1964, the Wilderness Act was created to set aside places “where man himself is a visitor.” There are now many efforts to protect untouched land, and at the same time we want to enjoy the wild, be out there in it. Balancing those impulses requires a careful dance.

Does the wild still exist — and what qualifies as “wilderness” anyway? For answers, listen in as we chase tigers, track majestic elk, and help bears cross the road — safely.

Also heard on The Pulse this week:
  • Drew Lanham grew up on his family’s farm in South Carolina. He explains how wilderness has always meant happiness and freedom to him — but also makes him remember the painful history that same land holds.
  • We take a trip through Brigantine Wilderness in New Jersey with refuge manager Virginia Rettig
  • Deep sea ecologist Andrew Thaler describes wilderness at the bottom of the ocean
  • Sound artist Dianne Ballon shares some of her recordings from Shenandoah National Park

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