Stuart Udall, Wilderness Act Sponsor, Dies

March 21, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

Stewart Udall‘s name may not be on the tip of the tongue for most young anglers, but the former United States Secretary of the Interior and father of current U.S. Senator Tom Udall was prime mover in the battle to protect wilderness in the 1960s. Stewart Udall died in New Mexico yesterday at the age of 90.
As Scott Kersgaard notes, “Udall introduced the Wilderness Act, which created the National Wilderness Preservation System, and the Endangered Species Act of 1966, which preceded the modern Endangered Species Act. He also expanded the National Park System” … ” to include four new national parks, six new national monuments, eight seashores and lakeshores, nine recreation areas, 20 historic sites, and 56 wildlife refuges.”
Udall’s success in expanding America’s parks was highlighted in Ken Burns’s recent film series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” “He would oversee the most ambitious program of creating new parks since the time of Franklin Roosevelt. The pace of population growth and development in the West gave Udall a sense of urgency. ‘What we save now,’ he said, ‘may be all we save.'”