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I Went To The Woods Essay

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The rustle of the wagons whispers compared to the hustle and bustle of the old Eastern cities. Miles and miles of dirt mixes with dust and horse hooves, leading to an ever present grit of sand in one's teeth. Skin boils under the blistering sun, and freezes steel solid during the night. Danger lurks imminently. The natural world wows 19th century Americans with her terrifying power, and Native Americans don’t take very kindly to the intrusion on their land. In an emergency, people were often left to fend for theirself. Out on the Westward frontier, there was no telling when one’s next encounter with other people would be - days, weeks, or even months. Despite a myriad of obstacles, our ancestors raced across the new continent, America,…show more content…
It is of the utmost importance for us to preserve and protect these slices of natural paradise. Nowadays many people take these parks for granted, but these public lands were originally a uniquely American idea: that a nation’s wonders should be available to the whole public, not reserved for a select few. Most of us support preserving parts of America’s natural beauty. However, for American men who originally traveled west back in the 1800s wilderness was seen less as a thing of beauty and more like an obstacle to overcome. These men were faced with pure unrestricted nature, in which they had to hunt, trap, and extract resources from the land. It was only later, as masses of families in wagon trains began to cross the continent, that the fragile land began to seriously show the devastating effects of man. Humans stampeded across the continent, wiping it of resources: the wilderness began to recede and portions of prehistoric civilization were lost (W. Hodding Carter). As time went on, appreciation for unspoiled nature grew. The naturalist John Muir spoke of how the "great wilds of our country, once held to be boundless and inexhaustible, are being rapidly invaded and overrun…and everything destructible in them is being destroyed”. Spectacular natural areas in the American West were publicized and romanticized by authors like Henry David Thoreau, and many Americans began to see the need to protect examples of the nation's heritage and
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