“The wildest animal I know is you, gentle reader, with this helpless book clutched in your claws…we need wilderness because we are wild animals. Every man needs a place where he can go to go crazy in peace. Every Boy Scout troop needs a forest to get lost, miserable, and starving in. Even the maddest murderer of the sweetest wife should get a chance to run for the hills. If only for the sport of it. For the terror, the delirium..Because we need brutality and raw adventure. What makes life in our cities at once still tolerable, exciting, and stimulating is the existence of an alternative option, whether exercised or not, whether even appreciated or not, of a radically different mode of being out there, in the forests, on the lakes and rivers, up in the
mountains. The boundary around a wilderness area may well be an artificial, self-imposed, sophisticated construction, but once inside that line you discover the artificiality beginning to drop away; and the deeper you go, the longer you stay, the more interesting things get – sometimes fatally interesting. And that too is what we want: wilderness is and should be a place where, as in Central Park, New York City, you have a fair chance of being mugged and buggered by a shaggy fellow in a fur coat, one of Pooh Bear’s big brothers. To be alive is to take risks; to be always safe and secure is death.”
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