142+ Best Wilderness Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Wilderness is an area of land that has not been used to grow crops or had towns and roads built on it. Profoundly inspirational wilderness quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.

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Famous Wilderness Quotes

Wilderness is a necessity there must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls. ― John Muir

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. ― John Muir

If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.

The wilderness is a place of an encounter with the creator. ― Lailah Gifty Akita

I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness. ― Aldo Leopold

wilderness quotes

We must not only protect the countryside and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities … Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither, and his sustenance be wasted. ― Lyndon B. Johnson

In the wilderness is the salvation of the world. ― Henry David Thoreau

We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. ― Henry David Thoreau

If we are to have broad-thinking men and women of high mentality, of good physique and with a true perspective on life, we must allow our populace a communion with nature in areas of more or less wilderness condition. ― Arthur Carhart

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. ― Alan Alda

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity ― John Muir

There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection. ― Theodore Roosevelt

If wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness. ― Edward Abbey

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. ― Chris Maser

Wilderness itself is the basis of all our civilization. I wonder if we have enough reverence for life to concede to wilderness the right to live on? — Margaret Murie

Many people go into the wilderness to experience it, and if they experience it in comfort, there’s very little in a literary sense for them to write about. ― Tim Cahill

Sometimes when you lose your way, you find YOURSELF. ― Mandy Hale

I hope that the United States of America is not so rich that she can afford to let these wildernesses pass by. Or so poor that she cannot afford to keep them. ― Margaret (Mardy) Murie

Wilderness without wildlife is just scenery. ― Lois Crisler

Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down. ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Wilderness is an anchor to windward. Knowing it is there, we can also know that we are still a rich nation, tending our resources as we should — not a people in despair searching every last nook and cranny of our land for a board of lumber, a barrel of oil, a blade of grass, or a tank of water. ― Clinton P. Anderson

The wilderness provides an environment for a child’s inner life to develop because it requires him to be constantly aware of his surroundings. ― Leslie Stephen

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. ― Wallace Stegner

empowering wilderness quotes

We who are gathered here may represent a particularly elite, not of money and power, but of concern for the earth for the earth’s sake. ― Ansel Adams

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ― John Muir

Wildness is the preservation of the World. ― Henry David Thoreau

National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today. ― John F. Kennedy

Wilderness is harder and harder to find these days on this beautiful planet, and we’re abusing our planet to the point of almost no return. ― Betty White

There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties ― John Muir

And this, our life exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. ― William Shakespeare

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. ― Edward Abbey

To those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part. ― Aldo Leopold

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. ― William Shakespeare

One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls. ― Jack Kerouac

To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness – especially in the wilderness – you shall love him. ― Frederick Buechner

What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself. ― Mollie Beattie

When it comes to wilderness animals we have to make an effort to preserve what areas we can that they can be themselves in. It’s come to a point though, clearly, where some species have to be cared for by humans if they are not going to disappear altogether. ― Matthew Fox

Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries. ― Jimmy Carter

If we lose wilderness, we lose forever the knowledge of what the world was and what it might, with understanding and loving husbandry, yet become. These are islands in time — with nothing to date them on the calendar of mankind. In these areas it is as though a person were looking backward into the ages and forward untold years. Here are bits of eternity, which have a preciousness beyond all accounting. ― Harvey Broome

In truth wilderness is a state of mind and heart. Very little exists now in actuality. ― Ansel Adams

And this is what happened, and this is why the caribou and the wolf are one; for the caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong. ― Farley Mowat

The action and tone of his statement leads me to conclude that [Interior] Secretary [James G.] Watt’s idea of wilderness is a parking lot without lines. ― Don Edwards

The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask. ― Nancy Newhall

The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit. ― Joseph Wood Krutch

The wilderness is a place that every believer has to experience to be molded for their divine purpose. ― E’yen A. Gardner

We had no choice. Sadness was a dangerous as panthers and bears. the wilderness needs your whole attention. ― Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization. Wilderness was never a homogenous raw material. It was very diverse. The differences in the product are known as cultures. The rich diversity of the world’s cultures reflects a corresponding diversity. In the wilds that gave them birth.

powerful wilderness quotes

The reason we need wilderness is because we are really wild animals. Every man needs a place he can go, to go crazy in peace. Only then can we return to man’s other life, to the other way, to the order and sanity and beauty of what will somewhere be, unless all visions are false, the human community. ― Edward Abbey

All conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish. ― Aldo Leopold

The sea is a desert of waves, A wilderness of water. ― Langston Hughes

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. ― Aldo Leopold

The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders. ― Edward Abbey

It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and love for a time in the wilderness. ― Loren Eiseley

Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals. ― Aldo Leopold

One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning. ― James Russell Lowell

It was like hiking into a Hemingway story; everything was sepia-toned and bristling with subtext. ― Leslie What

One who will not accept solitude, stillness and quiet recurring moments…is caught up in the wilderness of addictions; far removed from an original state of being and awareness. This is ‘dis-ease. ― T.F. Hodge

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. ― Charles A. Lindbergh

All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream. ― T. K. Whipple

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. ― Sir John Lubbock

Wilderness touches the heart, mind and soul of each individual in a way known only to himself. ― Michael Frome

I had learnt the satisfaction which comes from hardship and the pleasure which derives from abstinence; the contentment of a full belly; the richness of meat; the taste of clean water; the ecstasy of surrender when the craving of sleep becomes a torment; the warmth of a fire in the chill of dawn. ― Wilfred Thesiger

There is just one hope of repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every niche on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom of the wilderness.

It is a real wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe. ― Ursula K Le Guin

Man always kills the thing he loves, and so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map? ― Aldo Leopold

The preservation of a few samples of undeveloped territory is one of the most clamant issues before us today. Just a few more years of hesitation and the only trace of that wilderness which has exerted such a fundamental influence in molding American character will lie in the musty pages of pioneer books … To avoid this catastrophe demands immediate action. ― Robert (Bob) Marshall

Without wilderness, we will eventually lose the capacity to understand America. Our drive, our ruggedness, our unquenchable optimism and zeal and elan go back to the challenges of the untrammeled wilderness. ― Harvey Broome

The whole concept of ‘wild’ was decidedly European, one not shared by the original inhabitants of this continent. What we called ‘wilderness’ was to the Indian a homeland, ‘abiding loveliness’ in Salish or Piegan. The land was not something to be feared or conquered, and ‘wildlife’ were neither wild nor alien; they were relatives. ― Doug Peacock

I believe we have a profound fundamental need for areas of the earth where we stand without our mechanisms that make us immediate masters over our environment. ― Howard Zahniser

The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom. ― Theodore Roosevelt

Maybe freedom really is nothing left to lose. You had it once in childhood, when it was okay to climb a tree, to paint a crazy picture and wipe out on your bike, to get hurt. The spirit of risk gradually takes its leave. It follows the wild cries of joy and pain down the wind, through the hedgerow, growing ever fainter. What was that sound? A dog barking far off? That was our life calling to us, the one that was vigorous and undefended and curious. ― Peter Heller

The land, the earth God gave to man for his home … should never be the possession of any man, corporation, (or) society … any more than the air or water.

A definition is the enclosing a wilderness of idea within a wall of words. ― Samuel Butler

… there’s a silent voice in the wilderness that we hear only when no one else is around. When you go far, far beyond, out across the netherlands of the Known, the din of human static slowly fades away, over and out. ― Rob Schultheis

Laws change; people die; the land remains. ― Abraham Lincoln

Wilderness is a necessity … They will see what I meant in time. There must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls. Food and drink is not all. There is the spiritual. In some it is only a germ, of course, but the germ will grow.

You may feel like a voice in the wilderness, but it is your voice we are waiting to hear…you are the determining factor. ― Neale Donald Walsch

I am the wilderness lost in man. ― Mervyn Peake

In the wilderness, we experience the faithfulness of God. ― Lailah Gifty Akita

I thought of the wilderness we had left behind us, open to sea and sky, joyous in its plenitude and simplicity, perfect yet vulnerable, unaware of what is coming, defended by nothing, guarded by no one. ― Edward Abbey

popular wilderness quotes

How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof. In such places, standing alone on the mountaintop, it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make — leaves and moss like the marmots and the birds, or tents or piled stone — we all dwell in a house of one room — the world with the firmament for its roof — and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving track.

Love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach. It is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need if only we had the eyes to see. ― Edward Abbey

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence . . . ― Wallace Stegner

The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains — mountain-dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s work-shops. ― John Muir

The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned to ask. ― Nancy Newhall

The oceans are the planet’s last great living wilderness, man’s only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species. ― John L. Culliney

The land belongs to the future … that’s the way it seems to me. How many names on the county clerk’s plat will be there in fifty years? I might as well try to will the sunset over there to my brother’s children. We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it — for a little while. ― Willa Cather

Wilderness to the people pf America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium. ― Sigurd Olson

Wilderness areas are first of all a series of sanctuaries for the primitive arts of wilderness travel, especially canoeing and packing. ― Aldo Leopold

Nature is an outcry, unpolished truth; the art—a euphemism—tamed wilderness. ― Dejan Stojanovic

Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.

Wilderness has been characterized as barren and unproductive; little can be grown in its sand and rock. But the crops of wilderness have always been its spiritual values silence and solitude, a sense of awe and gratitude able to be harvested by any traveler who visits. ― David Douglas

There is language going on out there- the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression… We have yet to become fluent in the language -and music- of the wild. ― Boyd Norton

Awareness is becoming acquainted with environment, no matter where one happens to be. Man does not suddenly become aware or infused with wonder; it is something we are born with. No child need be told its secret; he keeps it until the influence of gadgetry and the indifference of teen-age satiation extinguish its intuitive joy. ― Sigurd Olson

The word wilderness occurs approximately three hundred times in the Bible, and all its meanings are derogatory. ― Rene Dubos

Unlike the majority of people, he did not hate or fear the wilderness; as harsh as the empty lands were, they possessed a grace and a beauty that no artifice could compete with and that he found restorative. ― Christopher Paolini

The more civilized man becomes, the more he needs and craves a great background of forest wildness, to which he may return like a contrite prodigal from the husks of an artificial life. ― Ellen Burns Sherman

Wilderness complements and completes civilization. I might say that the existence of wilderness is also a compliment to civilization. Any society that feels itself too poor to afford the preservation of wilderness is not worthy of the name of civilization. ― Edward Abbey

I had some terrific experiences in the wilderness since I wrote you last – overpowering, overwhelming, he gushed to his friend Cornel Tengel. But since then I am always being overwhelmed. I require it to sustain life. Everett Ruess ― Jon Krakauer

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.

In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’d forgotten how enlivening it could feel, seeing clearly and far. Aridity frees light. It also unleashes grandeur. The earth here wasn’t cloaked in forest, nor draped in green. Green was pastoral, peaceful, mild. Desert beauty was sublime in the way that the romantic poets had used the word- not peaceful dales but rugged mountain faces, not reassuring but daunting nature, the earth’s skin and haunches, its spines and angles arching prehistorically in sunlight. ― Julene Bair

How much wilderness do the wilderness-lovers want? Ask those who would mine and dig and cut and dam in such sanctuary spots as these. The answer is easy: Enough so that there will be in the years ahead a little relief, a little quiet, a little relaxation, for any of our increasing millions who need and want it.

True wilderness is where you keep it, and real wilderness experience cannot be a sedentary one; you have to seek it out not seated, but afoot. ― David Brower

Wilderness gave us knowledge. Wilderness made us human. We came from here. Perhaps that is why so many of us feel a strong bond to this land called Serengeti; it is the land of our youth. ― Boyd Norton

Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen. ― Suzy Kassem

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clean air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste. ― Wallace Stegner

Wilderness begins in the human mind. ― Edward Abbey

Every morning in the middle of nowhere, without electricity or anyone to impress, I’d take great care in picking out my outfit and hover in front of a business card-size mirror to apply my lip gloss and check my eyebrows. I also felt I had a strong case for bringing a little black dress on expeditions. Village parties spring up more often than you might expect, and despite never having been a Girl Scout, I like to be prepared. ― Mireya Mayor

In wildness is the preservation of the world. ― Henry David Thoreau

Wilderness begins where the road ends; and if the roads never end, there never will be any wilderness. ― Frank Church

A flower’s structure leads a bee toward having pollen adhere to its body . . . we don’t know of any such reason why beautiful places attract humans. ― David Rains Wallace

It is imperative to maintain portions of the wilderness untouched so that a tree will rot where it falls, a waterfall will pour its curve without generating electricity, a trumpeter swan may float on uncontaminated water — and moderns may at least see what their ancestors knew in their nerves and blood. ― Bernard De Voto

Since well before the Kung’s engine noise first penetrated the forest, a conversation of sorts has been unfolding in this lonesome hollow. It is not a language like Russian or Chinese but it is a language nonetheless, and it is older than the forest. The crows speak it; the dog speaks it; the tiger speaks it, and so do the men–some more fluently than others. ― John Vaillant

Love is a powerful tool, and maybe, just maybe, before the last little town is corrupted and the last of the unroaded and undeveloped wildness is given over to dreams of profit, maybe it will be love, finally, love for the land for its own sake and for what it holds of beauty and joy and spiritual redemption that will make [wilderness] not a battlefield but a revelation. ― T. H. Watkins

Wilderness designations should not be the result of a quid pro quo. They should rise or fall on their own merits. ― Nick Rahall

Lured by the wilderness, and by the chance of spotting rare desert elephants, a few intrepid tourists make their way to the Skeleton Coast each year. It’s just about as remote as any tourist destination on earth, but one that pays fabulous dividends. ― Tahir Shah

Without enough wilderness America will change. Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by regular contact with outdoor growths — animals, trees, sun warmth and free skies — or it will dwindle and pale. ― Walt Whitman

There is no wilderness like a life without friends. ― Baltasar Gracian

Until humans came and made anthills out of these mountains, Diwan Sahib was saying, looking up at the langurs, the land had belonged to these monkeys, and to barking deer, nilgai, tiger, barasingha, leopards, jackals, the great horned owl, and even to cheetahs and lions. The archaeology of the wilderness consisted of these lost animals, not of ruined walls, terracotta amulets, and potsherds. ― Anuradha Roy

If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go. … This is the story of our past and it will be the story of our future. ― Terry Tempest Williams

Wilderness is not so much a place, but a feeling about one. ― Roderick Nash

Now, wilderness can be seen as a useful fiction, a fiction constructed by John Muir and his heirs and deployed to keep places from being destroyed by resource extraction and wholesale development. ― Rebecca Solnit

The earth laughs in flowers. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wilderness is not defined by the absence of certain activities, but rather by the presence of certain unique and invaluable characteristics. ― Nick Rahall

To the question: Wilderness, who needs it? Doc would say: Because we like the taste of freedom, comrades. Because we like the smell of danger. But, thought Hayduke, what about the smell of fear, Dad? ― Edward Abbey,

What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more, to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes, or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that tumble and roll and climb into riotous gladness! ― Helen Keller

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ― John Muir

You can stretch to your fullest in this land, Emma, and not touch any edges. There’s no dream too big for the wilderness. I’d hate to see it tamed and carved up into little fiefdoms. ― Alice Valdal

Wilderness begins with disconnections. It continues with deceit. ― Max Lucado

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ― John Muir

Nothing truly wild is unclean. ― John Muir

I sat amongst the bones for a while and watched the ocean as it churned, thinking that Africa was the most wild and devastatingly beautiful place that I would ever have the privilege of knowing. ― Bianca Bowers

Raindrops blossom brilliantly in the rainbow, and change to flowers in the sod, but snow comes in full flower direct from the dark, frozen sky. ― John Muir

55 Years ago today President Johnson signed the Wilderness Act of 1964 protecting 9.1 million acres of federal land. Read more about trails thru the wilderness in Trail Tales. ― Robert Cowdrick

Keep close to nature’s heart and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ― John Muir

A world without huge regions of total wilderness would be a cage; a world without lions and tigers and vultures and snakes and elk and bison would be – will be – a human zoo. A high-tech slum. ― Edward Abbey

The wilderness that has come to us out of the eternity of the past, we have the boldness to project into the eternity of the future. ― Howard Zahniser

I think it is far more important to save one square mile of wilderness, anywhere, by any means, than to produce another book on the subject. ― Edward Abbey

In the presence of the storm, thunderbolts, hurricane, rain, darkness, and the lions, which might be concealed but a few paces away, he felt disarmed and helpless. ― Henryk Sienkiewicz

The old school of thought would have you believe that you’d be a fool to take on nature without arming yourself with every conceivable measure of safety and comfort under the sun. But that isn’t what being in nature is all about. Rather, it’s about feeling free, unbounded, shedding the distractions and barriers of our civilization—not bringing them with us. ― Ryel Kestenbaum

There, about a dozen times during the day, the wind drives over the sky the swollen clouds, which water the earth copiously, after which the sun shines brightly, as if freshly bathed, and floods with a golden luster the rocks, the river, the trees, and the entire jungle. ― Henryk Sienkiewicz

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