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Gila Wilderness towers as a monument to vision
Famed conservationist Aldo Leopold "must have been thought strange" on June 3, 1924, when he helped found the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico, the first official wilderness in the United States.
So said John McGuire, head of the U.S. Forest Service, during the Gila's 50th anniversary celebration, in 1974. In the 1920s, the nation was infatuated with progress and development. People who advocated leaving wild lands just that way no logging, no roads, no subdivisions surely had "a lonely task," McGuire suggested. Yet, "a half-century later, we are thanking them as men of vision."
Today, on the …