GWC Distinguished Lecture – 2016 In Love with the Wild: Thoughts About Public Lands in the 1st Century
Bill Hedden, Executive Director, Grand Canyon Trust
Bill Hedden provided a report from the field, a description from an activist and stakeholder of what it’s like to live surrounded by deep, wild public lands. The lecture included a personal description of what the public lands can mean to an individual life. Followed by a broader scope and look ahead related to public lands issues, asking how our societal relationships with these lands must evolve in the 21st century. Hedden believes it is necessary to speak in new ways about these matters at a time when the very concept of public lands is once again under assault from the Congress and from state legislatures, attacked through well-funded disinformation campaigns, and, if all the rest isn’t clear enough, the land itself occupied by armed militias—our inheritance under threat from people who have not felt lucky to earn a living off of lands and resources belonging to all of us, but who feel resentful and determined to take the lands for themselves. Hedden notes the American people are in danger of losing something of inestimable value without really knowing what it is and, more importantly, without having a vision of what role this globally unique endowment might play in helping us find a way to live in harmony with our ever more stressed planet.