Op-Ed: PA's Howard Zahniser Should Be Included In National Garden Of American Heroes

By Kirk Johnson, Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness

Without a doubt, Tionesta, Pennsylvania native, The Wilderness Society executive director, and Wilderness Act of 1964 author Howard Zahniser should be included in the new National Garden of American Heroes, slated to be open by July 4th, 2026 — the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence

As the human population in this country continues to grow, sprawl continues its expansion into open spaces, and natural settings become more scarce, by the law of supply and demand untrammeled wilderness is going to take on greater significance to Americans for many important reasons.

I believe Howard Zahniser’s Wilderness Act, already considered by many to be the most poetic yet precise legislation ever enacted, will become the single most important and appreciated work completed by any American.

Howard Zahniser has given us an invaluable gift, the full import of which may never be truly known.

In my estimation Zahniser can be thought of as a latter-day Founding Father with the enduring import and quality of his magnanimous efforts, his intellectual and philosophical capacity, and his acute aptitude with and love for the English language.

 His drafting of the Wilderness Act, shepherding of it through 66 rewrites and 19 public hearings before Congress over a period of eight years, and tireless advocacy for wilderness with all who would listen is unparalleled.

The community of Tionesta and all residents of the Commonwealth have reason to be very proud.

Howard Zahniser deserves higher regard and increased recognition not only in the pantheon of great American conservationists, but in the pantheon of great Americans. 

Kirk Johnson is Executive Director of the Friends of Allegheny Wilderness in Warren

Related Articles:

-- U.S. Forest Service National Wilderness Program Staff Make Pilgrimage To Howard Zahniser Sites In Tionesta, PA

-- Video: Howard Zahniser Honored On 50th Anniversary Of Wilderness Act By His Son

Related Articles This Week - Land Conservation:

-- Eden Hill Conservancy Donates Conservation Easements On 207 Acres In Huntingdon County To Western PA Conservancy

-- Allegheny Land Trust Protects 155 Acres In Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County

-- Westmoreland Conservancy Expands King Reserve By 26 Acres

-- Natural Lands Helps Add 14 Acres To Nockamixon State Park In Bucks County

-- Powdermill Nature Reserve In Westmoreland County Receives $1 Million Avian Research Grant From Mellon Foundation

-- Brandywine Conservancy Seeks Public Input On Birmingham Hill Preserve

-- Pocono Heritage Land Trust To Merge With Pocono Avian Research Center In Monroe County

-- PA Clean Water Academy: Learn More About Streamside Buffers

-- Wildlands Conservancy: Land Protection 101, Bat Counts, Other Programs Coming Up!

[Posted: July 7, 2020]


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