‘We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.’ Thus wrote novelist, historian, conservationist, and visionary Wallace Stegner, in his famous Wilderness Letter.
Stegner spent his life observing and writing about our relationship with the land. He was a champion of the western landscape, stressing its role in building – and reflecting – the American character. In his book, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, a classic environmental history, Stegner described John Wesley Powell’s exploration of the Colorado Plateau. In 1955 he edited This is Dinosaur, which helped to revitalize the conservation movement by contributing to victory in the battle over dam development within Dinosaur National Monument.
Stegner concluded an essay entitled A Sense of Place, by stating that ‘only with an act of submission is the sense of place realized and a sustainable relationship between people and earth established’.