Washington - President Obama has just declared September National Wilderness Month, and this weekend is the end of the traditional summer camping season in Washington. The presidential declaration is a nod to the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, as Washington is home to several of the nation's first wilderness areas, including Mt. Adams and Glacier Peak. Those sites, as well as areas on the wilderness docket, are top destinations for many seeking outdoor experiences this Labor Day weekend.
Bob Freimark, senior policy analyst for the Wilderness Society's Pacific Northwest office, says wild lands, and areas proposed for wilderness preservation, are recommendations for the travel list.
"Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah for camping for the season - going to a lot of these special places that are protected as wilderness, or potentially be protected in the future as wilderness."
Freimark says wilderness areas on the docket are also ripe for weekend explorers, such as the proposed 22,000-acre expansion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area in the Cascades. It's home to hundreds of clear lakes and streams and lush low-elevation forests.
"The Alpine Lakes is just a wonderful place to recreate. Citizens in the past recognized it as a spectacular area and protected much of it. There's still some more to protect."
Other areas in Washington preserved under the Act over the years include Mt. Rainier, Wild Sky, and the Olympic Wilderness Areas. Conservation groups consider the Wilderness Act, signed into law September 3, 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that is still utilized today with several proposals for new wilderness on the table for Oregon. Nationwide, more than 100 million acres are preserved under the Act.