In 1960, the novelist and historian Wallace Stegner wrote what would become known as the Wilderness Letter. It was addressed to an official involved in a federal policy review of America’s Outdoor Recreation Resources, and over the course of the letter Stegner argued that particular places and landscapes were worth more than could ever be revealed by a cost–benefit analysis of their economic value.

No, Stegner explained – we need such places because they remind us of a world beyond the human and also because they allow us to see ourselves as part of the “environment of trees and rocks and soil ...


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