National Geographic : 1978 Sep
Primitive, primeval. Vanishing sanctuaries. Many say, "Lock away these last wilds!" Others say we must harvest the riches these "Wilderness lands virgin lands hold. Who's right? "The are too rich In vast, impenetrable, trackless is pri wilds, peaks rise 20,000 feet. Per to lock away." petually white. Where eagles Wei soar. In valleys, birds, ground squirrels bustle among spring flowers. Deer browse in misty meadows. The last great bears roam free and sovereign. Majes tic, forbidding, inhospitable lands. Yet fragile. And those who hear the call of the wild say, "Leave them untouched. For ever!" That's understandable. But others cite our need for trea sures wild lands store. In Alaska alone, perhaps 35 billion barrels of oil. Ten times last year's over seas imports. And 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas! Vast timber stands. Untold stores of copper, nickel, coal, chromium. Raging waters to harness for power. Many feel we must de velop such lands. That's under standable, too. But we can't both preserve and develop, mine and sequester. What then to do? Let's start by look ing at priorities. America will need certain critical resources: minerals, oil, hydro-power, timber. Those needs may take prece dence over aesthetic values. But, development must carry with it responsibilities. Utilization must be balanced with preservation. And, the balance is best arrived at through public discussion of needs, benefits, costs and aesthetic considerations. Caterpillar makes the basic machines of resource develop ment. We believe long-term policies require input from all in terests: for development, for pres ervation, for compromise. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Caterpillar, Cat and® are Trademarksof CaterpillarTractor Co.