Wilderness has just lost the voice of one of its staunchest advocates. Clem, a 45 year Forest Service Wilderness veteran, has died.
Clem was a steadfast and unwavering critic of management decisions that eroded Wilderness character. An avid defender of Wilderness as defined in the Wilderness Act, Clem was vitally concerned about how Wilderness was being lost, piece by piece, as managers made decisions based on data unrelated to Wilderness values. Clem spent decades as a Wilderness manager and understood that managing Wilderness, as Wilderness, is not always the easiest way to manage public lands but he was adamant that it is exactly what Congress intended when it framed the Wilderness Act
Only weeks ago, his mind still on Wilderness, Clem said, “Wilderness is too precious a national resource. We cannot afford to continue on down this road.”
If you knew Clem, or if you just value Wilderness, you can honor his lifetime dedication to Wilderness by speaking up next time managers propose any action destined to mitigate the purity of wilderness. Clem would say, ‘it is your right to expect Wilderness managers to do what is best for Wilderness”.
In a recent essay Clem wrote, “There is no one approach that will ensure the protection and propagation of Wilderness, but I am ready to accept that I am indeed a Wilderness purist, and if I am sincere in my desire to see Wilderness survive, I must contribute to the survival effort.”
In recognition of Clem’s lifetime dedicated to protecting the essence of Wilderness the Pope family has established the Wilderness Defense Fund with an initial hundred thousand dollar gift. This endowment, with the Great Old Broads for Wilderness will be used exclusively to support legal fees associated with the protection of Wilderness values.
As lovers of Wilderness we hope to see this fund grow to play a pivotal role in the protection of the Wilderness Clem so cherished. Your support at any level is nod of recognition to Clem’s life’s work and a vote for the future of Wilderness.
Contributions can be mailed to the Wilderness Defense Fund ℅ The Great Old Broads, 555 Rivergate Lane, B1-110 Durango, Co 81301 or made online at www.greatoldbroads.org. (Please note the Wilderness Defense Fund in the memo box.)
View a 10 minute presentation based on Clem’s essay about the challenges facing wilderness.