William Cronon The Trouble With Wilderness

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In William Cronon’s “The Trouble with Wilderness”, Cronon writes extensively about how to better interact with the wilderness and make it more accessible to daily life. In one particular section, located on page 482 of the reading, Cronon digs into to why and how people view the wilderness as separate and untouched, criticizing the hypocrisy of this idea. In this passage, Cronon comments on the “myth of the wilderness as ‘virgin’” (482). He begins by writing about how the preservation of wilderness by national parks was closely followed by the erasure of Native Americans. The original inhabitants of the “wilderness”, such as the Blackfoot tribes, were removed from their homelands so that “tourists could safely enjoy the illusion that they were seeing their nation in its pristine, original state,” (482). The use of “safely” here helps to convey the idea that the wilderness has been cleaned up and made presentable for tourists. A few lines later he writes, “Once set aside…the wilderness lost its savage image and became safe” (482). Cronon is also making note of how the “wilderness” that people view as “uninhabited” was actually the homeland for many humans for centuries. The places that are thought of as representing untouched land are spaces where people have been driven out and human history has been erased: …show more content…
Part of this trouble is the separation that the average person has from nature, caused by the myth of the wilderness being untouched; a sublime refuge from civilization. Beyond this passage, Cronon goes on to suggest that people incorporate the wilderness into daily, “civilized” life. In this passage, that means people should look to the history of the wilderness when in it, and not think of it as a new or untouched place. Additionally, it means that nature shouldn’t be a place that people go to escape ordinary life, it should be already blended into