What’s The Difference Between The Wilderness And Natural Trails

What’s the difference between “the wilderness” and a natural trail? While they may seem the same to the uneducated person, there are some very clear differences.

Location

The average person can find a natural trail pretty much anywhere. Whether they are at a state park or even a local park in your neighborhood and is open to the public. Whereas the wilderness is government designated land secured by a perimeter that has little to no interaction with mankind.

There are only a few states that have designated “Wilderness” areas such as:
Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Michigan
Minnesota
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
Oregon
Washington
West Virginia
Wyoming

Human Involvement

Natural trails are great to visit with your friends and family for a fun day of hiking and other adventures. Natural trails, by definition, are a man made path through a wild area such as a forest, that provides the opportunity for observing and learning about the plants and animals around them. It’s perfect to visit for a holiday such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day especially during the warmer months.

The Wilderness, on the other hand, in banned from human involvement as it’s designated land protected by governmental agencies to be preserved for scientific, historical and educational purposes.

Maintenance

Most nature trails are property of the park that they belong to whereas “the wilderness” to a combination of four different government agencies such as Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Although there are some wilderness areas that you can visit, there are very strict guidelines called “Leave No Trace” which has 7 basic principles. All motor vehicle transportation including bicycles is banned from these areas. So if you are looking for a remote and spiritual adventure, you can take your luck visiting the wilderness or you can be safe and stick to nature trails.

The Importance Of The Wilderness Act Of 1964

There are many beautiful places that are still considered wilderness within the United States. One of the primary reasons for this is the Wilderness Act of 1964. First signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, this law was passed to help protect wilderness areas and preserve them for the American people. The Act defines wilderness and provided federal protection for more almost 2 million acres. Today, the preservation system created by the Act includes almost 110 million acres located across 44 states and Puerto Rico.

All land under the Wilderness Act comes from existing federal land. There are several criteria used to determine which land will receive a wilderness designation. These are areas which have a minimal human imprint, present options for unconfined recreation, consist of at least 5,000 acres, and possess scientific, educational or historical value.

All areas designated as Wilderness should also have no motorized travel or any enterprises located within the acreage. Any area designated as wilderness will also have a clearly defined boundary which is then set by statutory law. Once the land is designated as wilderness, only another act of Congress can change that.

The act of designating land as wilderness is considered the highest level of conservation protection used for federal lands. Designated wilderness lands are managed by four federal agencies. The U.S. Congress has given this responsibility to the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agencies are mandated to manage, preserve and when possible, restore the wilderness areas.

Under the Wilderness Act, no commercial enterprises or permanent roads may be created within the wilderness area. The only exceptions to this are recreational or other services that adhere to the tenets of the Wilderness Act. As a rule, a wilderness area will not allow any motor vehicles, motorized equipment, temporary roads, mechanical transport, or permanent installations or structures. The Act does acknowledge there may be exceptions to protect private property, provide for human health and safety, to fight fires, and to control insect infestations.

Within National Parks, the backcountry areas may not fall under the Act. Often, these wilderness areas are protected by agency policies which can be changed. When an area is designated as a wilderness area under the Act, it is protected for all Americans, present, and future.

The Act also protects watersheds, open space, diverse ecosystems, natural soundscapes, and biodiversity. There is a sense of wildness in these areas which can serve to produce both a physical and spiritual experience.

Wilderness areas are often used for outdoor recreation that doesn’t require motorized equipment or vehicles. A more recent interpretation of the Act banned bicycles from the wilderness areas. The Act does allow certain uses including grazing and extracting resources if these were performed before the land was designated as wilderness area.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 protects some of America’s most beautiful areas. The Act helps preserve these pristine environments so present and future generations will be able the enjoy them. You can read the exact here: https://wilderness.nps.gov/document/wildernessAct.pdf

What Should You Do If You Are Hurt In The Wild?

America is a spacious country running from one coast of a continent to the other, and while most folks live in cities, the urban areas only take so much of the square mileage within the nation’s boundaries. If you’re like many other millions of your fellow citizens, you take any chance to explore and enjoy the tracts of wilderness nearly ever state has to offer. Whether it’s hiking, camping, rafting, fishing, hunting, or something else, the outdoors are a chance to release stress, unwind, and commune with nature.

It’s usually a safe thing to do if you’re healthy, experienced, and properly equipped. However, what should you do if you are hurt in the wild? A lot of that will depend on how many others are with you.

The first thing of course is to administer any applicable first aid necessary for your injury or ailment. If others are with you, make sure they help you. If necessary, have one of them call or signal for emergency assistance should you need it. Hopefully, you have enough people with you to possibly carry you out of there.

It’s good to travel with no less than four people. The rule for that is so that one person can stay with someone injured, and two more can go for help and still be in a buddy system.

If you’re on your own, try your wireless signal, but that’s not always possible in the wilderness. Try to stay or get somewhere that you might come across others. If need be, light a trio of signal fires as a distress signal, but these might not work until someone is actually looking for you, so make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you’re due back.

If someone else might be at fault for your injury, it might be worth it to talk to a personal injury lawyer like Yosi Yahoudai at JNY Law.  Consultations are usually free, so there is very little risk involved.

Five Wild Plants That Are Safe To Eat

Wild plants are often associated with being poisonous, and something to stay far away from but that isn’t always the truth.

In fact, five wild plants are safe to eat and can be added to your cuisine if that is what you want to do.

Here is a look at those five wild plants.

1) Asparagus

Yes, these are plants you can find at the supermarket and are great for adding to your diet. They are great and filled with a robust amount of nutrients for those who wish to stay health year-round. They do a fantastic job of cleaning the digestive system.

2) Pine

Now, this is a wild plant most people don’t even think about, but it is one that has a lot of nourishment on offer. You can also use it for medicinal purposes due to the vitamin C that is found inside of it when turned into a paste.

3) Daylily

Now, this isn’t like the tiger lily which is poisonous. The daylily can be consumed and has a plethora of benefits to offer.

It tastes great and can be added to your salad.

4) Hazelnuts

These are nutritious and come from the hazelnut tree. They do have the right nutrients and are a joy for those who like nuts.

5) Acorn

Now, the main thing people are going to associate with the acorn is its taste. These are bitter, but they are consumable.

You will be able to put them in a meal and get great taste, which is why people cook it before putting it into their mouth.

Celebrating Wilderness

According to Wikipedia:

Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: “The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with roads, pipelines or other industrial infrastructure.”

As mentioned in our About Us, West Virginia is home to 9 Wilderness areas protected under The Wilderness Act. We are fortunate and lucky that we can visit some of the most preserved and has little interaction with humans not only in the United States but also on Earth! We are excited to share what we have with the rest of the country and the world! Here’s to wilderness and all that we can learn from it!