Wildness and Culture in Appalachia

This paper examines the idea of wilderness, and how it developed in America through the writings of people like Muir, Thoreau, and Leopold. This idea is followed through the 21st century as it increasingly becomes captured by consumerist impulses, and becomes critiqued both from more ardent defenders of wildness and by theorists of the Anthropocene. An alternative to this sullied tradition can be found as far back as Benton MacKaye’s original plan for the Appalachian Trail, and has elements of an Appalachian wild agrarianism in it.