"There are some who frankly and boldly advocate the eradication of the last remnants of wilderness and the complete subjugation of nature to the requirements of not man but industry. This is a courageous view, admirable in its simplicity and power, and with the weight of all modern history behind it. It is also quite insane."
Thus wrote former National Park Service Seasonal Ranger and writer Edward Abbey (1927-1989) in his classic conservation text, Desert Solitaire.
Abbey was born in Pennsylvania but was most closely associated with the American Southwest – a place that inspired his many books and essays about the land and its people. His writings combine the sensitivity of the poet with the curmudgeon’s stinging wit, while conveying a deep love for wilderness. An anarchist for the desert he loved. Abbey felt writers and conservationists had to be "impertinent, insolent, and, if necessary, subversive." His 1976 fictional comic novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, inspired a new generation of environmental activism. Abbey’s life embodied his own belief in active and joyous encounters with the environment: "It is not enough to fight for the land, it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there."