Utah Wilderness 50 photo exhibit showcases accessibility of nature


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]— Kiffer Creveling
Utah is a gem. From the alpine meadows of the north, to the barren, tumbleweed-covered wilderness in the west, to the red-rock phenomena in the south, Utah has it all. Visitors flock to Utah for the greatest snow on earth and some of the most stunning natural formations in the world. As U students, we have the chance to experience some of the world’s most beautiful nature in minutes. The Natural History Museum of Utah is currently hosting an exhibit that displays this wealth of natural beauty in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964.
According to NHMU’s homepage, the Wilderness Act laid down this definition: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
The Wilderness Act allows certain swathes of land to be put under the protection of the federal government. Since the Wilderness Act of 1964 was established, more than 100 million acres of land in America have been put under protection and classified as wilderness areas. The whole idea was to set up areas where humans are only visitors, with no permanent dwellings and no infrastructure — just pure, unblemished nature.
In an effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Jeff Clay of the Sierra Club decided to hold a photography contest. This contest received entries from more than 1,400 people across the country and four acclaimed photographer judges chose the 50 winners. The top pieces showed a celebration of the spirit of the wilderness found throughout Utah. Each photo depicts a different story.
Contest judge Tom Till said, “I feel the highest purpose for this land is contemplation, walking, seeing and touching this majesty.”
As I walked through the variety of landscape photos I was amazed at how inspired I felt to get outside, to contemplate, to take a walk and more. I immediately wanted to explore the wilderness here in Salt Lake as well as elsewhere in the state. An excitement was sparked within me to visit the Great Salt Lake, Arches National Park and even those places in Utah where there is nothing.
After taking a look at these incredible photographs, you can take a few steps out from the parking lot and head into the surrounding Wasatch Mountain wilderness.
In the words of judge and photographer Stephen Trimble, “Fall in love with Utah wilderness two feet from the truck and a mile down the easiest trail.”
The exhibit runs through the Dec. 14 and can be accessed Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesdays until 9 p.m. Admission is free for those with UCards. The Natural History Museum of Utah is located at 301 Wakara Way.
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