Date of Award

Spring 1977

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations

First Advisor

William Lang

Second Advisor

Dennis Wiedmann

Third Advisor

Fr. William Greytak


Within the American conservation movement is a fascinating historical development—wilderness preservation. Wilderness preservation is a reversal of mans' perception of wilderness, in that wilderness is valuable in and of itself and mandates protection. The challenge for the wilderness preservationists was the attempt to insure an enduring resource of wilderness for future generations of Americans. This historical struggle to preserve vast acres of primitive lands has just recently gained national attention.

This narrative will identify the value of wilderness and analyze the ideologies, policies, and individuals that have shaped the character of the wilderness preservation movement. I will trace the national an- predation of wilderness that grew from an esoteric notion of a handful of enthusiasts and patriots into a broad national sentiment, capable of securing legal protection for wild country. Through this examination, one will be better able to appreciate and understand the significant influence this movement had on Montana.

I will examine the origins, philosophies and character of the wilderness preservation movement in Montana, and how these wilderness advocates were able to distinguish differences between the savers of wilderness and the users of wilderness. Through a political and historical analysis, I will draw attention to important individuals in the state and how Montana was influenced and influences national policies with regard to wilderness preservation.