By Kevin Marsh
University of Washington Press, 2007
Hardcover, 227 pages
Illustrations, bibliography, index
Drawing Lines in the Forest, written by Idaho historian Kevin Marsh, is a scholarly work that takes a close look at the debates over wilderness boundaries that were drawn in the Oregon and Washington Cascades between 1950 and 1984. The book presents case studies discussing the creation of wilderness areas at Three Sisters, the North Cascades, Mount Jefferson, the Alpine Lakes, and French Pete, and concludes with a chapter, “Picking Up the Pieces,” which discusses wilderness areas in Oregon and Washington that were created by legislation in 1984 to protect lands or “pick up the pieces” left over from earlier wilderness campaigns. Marsh discusses roles played by various groups -- environmentalists, the timber industry, and the Forest Service -- that negotiated the boundaries to these wilderness areas, and provides a detailed analysis of the interests, issues, and politics raised by the parties during these negotiations.
It has been argued that the wilderness debates in the Cascades during the last half of the twentieth century represent some of the most significant stages in the national history of wilderness during that time. Far from being a local work, however, the book offers a perspective relevant to all wilderness areas of the United States, not just the Northwest, though Marsh also recognizes that land conservation issues are inherently local issues because of the particular lands and particular communities and constituencies that are affected by the drawing of wilderness boundaries. Carefully researched and well written, the book offers a detailed look at issues surrounding wilderness creation and encourages its readers to think more broadly about land conservation in the United States.
--By Phil Dougherty