In 2014 the citizens of Idaho and Montana celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act – the law that secured protection for eight million acres of wild forests and mountains in these two states. In his new book (from University of Utah Press) “Where Roads Will Never Reach” environmental historian Frederick Swanson tells the story of how, decades before the Wilderness Act, ordinary citizens halted the federal government’s resource development juggernaut of the 1950s and 1960s, safeguarding some of the last strongholds of grizzly bear, mountain goat, elk, trout, salmon and steelhead. Swanson says that from Idaho's Frank Church-River of No Return to Montana's Scapegoat and Great Bear, the wilderness areas of the Northern Rockies serve as a record of lasting public concern and as a model for citizens working to protect today's threatened landscapes.
Frederick Swanson says: “More than fifty years ago my family moved from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, where I became enthralled with its tall firs, glacier-carved mountains, and transparent rivers. Before long I was exploring the region's wilderness areas like so many of us did in the 1960s and 1970s. After twenty-five years working as an editor and publications designer, eleven of which were spent in the wonderful state of Montana, I decided to write full-time. I've been fortunate to be able to tell the story of some of the greatest wild lands in the western states and the men and women who knew and loved them.
These days I make my home in the foothills of Utah’s Wasatch Range, where the birds and mammals that pass through our neighborhood remind me of the real world out there. My books and articles deal with the history, use, and misuse of public lands during the twentieth century, with particular focus on wilderness areas, national parks, and national forests.”