By MICHAEL-SHAWN DUGARIn honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, members of the Friends of the Clearwater are putting together a special presentation that combines their love of the wilderness with Moscow’s love of the arts.
The wilderness awareness group joined forces with the Moscow Food Co-op to hold the opening of its 50 Big Wild Photo Exhibit tonight in the cafe area of the co-op. The exhibit will feature about 15 to 25 public-submitted photos and will remain open to the public through Oct. 8. Some photos will be for sale.
“We’d like to get a chance for the public and our membership to hang and present some of their photography from four wilderness areas in this part of the world,” said Brett Haverstick, Friends of the Clearwater education and outreach director. “We like to refer to it as the big wild.”
The four wilderness areas represented in the photos are the Gospel Hump Wilderness, the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the Hells Canyon Wilderness and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
The Wilderness Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964, designated more than 4 million acres of public land to be left unbothered by roadway construction or other projects. Compromises were made regarding certain areas, but for the most part, the land was left alone so nature could take its course.
Haverstick said photos in the gallery fall into one of four categories, featuring landscape, local flora, wildlife, and people hiking, camping or recreating in the wilderness.
“We didn’t want to limit people’s submissions knowing there’s a lot of wilderness here in the Northern Rockies,” Haverstick said. “Since we’re Friends of the Clearwater, we wanted to focus on wilderness areas that are within north central Idaho and within our mission area.”
Haverstick said the purpose of the exhibit is to not only raise awareness for his organization but to draw attention to the Wilderness Act itself, which he believes represents the area’s most important public land laws that people are relatively unaware of. He also hopes those who come to see the exhibit will be inspired to visit the sites in the photos and interact with the wilderness.
“It’s really about awareness, educating and inspiring,” he said.
The opening ceremony, which begins at 5:45 tonight, is just the beginning of the celebration for the Wilderness Act anniversary. On Friday afternoon, Friends of the Clearwater staff and others will venture to the Wilderness Gateway campground at the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest for a three-day wilderness party, concluding Sunday afternoon.
The public is welcome to attend and the festivities will include discussion groups, guest speakers, live music, food and activities for children. The event costs $8 to attend, which is the nightly fee to camp in the area.
“It should be a great time,” Haverstick said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Friends of the Clearwater 50 Big Wild Photo Exhibit opening ceremony
WHEN: 5:45 to 7 p.m. today; exhibit runs through Oct. 8.
WHERE: Moscow Food Co-op, 121 E. Fifth St.