Letters from the West

Humanities wilderness series still has a few slots left

The Idaho Humanities Council is still offering a five-meeting reading/discussion series in Boise this fall on the history and meaning of wilderness in commemoration of the 50thanniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

The series will meet at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center, 3188 Sunset Peak Road, over five Tuesdays, September 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, beginning at 6 p.m. each night. The Council had already filled the 25 seats for “Wilderness Considered,” but now its adding a few more places by finding more books to provide for loan.

Advance registration and advance reading is required. Texts are available on loan from the Idaho Humanities Council, 217 W. State Street beginning August 1.

I am one of the five speakers who will lecture and lead discussions on works by Aldo Leopold, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Wallace Stegner, and more. Participants will be loaned two texts when they sign up,American Wilderness: A New History, an anthology edited by Michael Lewis, and Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness, a memoir by Pete Fromm, along with a binder of additional readings.

Both books are a real treat and lay the foundation for reflecting on the experience and meaning of wilderness. Scholars will touch on controversies surrounding wilderness legislation and some contemporary public policy issues regarding new wilderness designation and I will add my two cents on the concept of wildness.

The series aims to reflect on how we have mapped wilderness over time, in public policy but also in stories, memoirs, land management guidelines, and other forms of discourse. Participants will consider how we view wilderness today, from the vantage points of modern-day campsites, canyons, and suburban cul-de-sacs, and tracing maps that are both material and mythological.

Boise State University Professors Lisa Brady and John Freemuth, College of Idaho Professor Scott Knickerbocker, College of Southern Idaho Professor Jennifer Emery Davidson, and I will lead discussions. This program has taken place this past spring in Hailey, Idaho Falls, and Coeur d’Alene. It is scheduled to take place this fall and next spring in Lewiston, Moscow, Twin Falls, and other communities.

For more information about the Boise series, to review the syllabus of readings, or to sign up, contact Debra Schlechte, Idaho Humanities Council, at 345-5346, or email atdebra@idahohumanities.org.