Wilderness is an issue that exposes a deep political fault line within the Republican Party. Republican leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt are credited with laying the philosophical and legal groundwork that resulted in establishment of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Republicans who worked for wilderness protection cited benefits such as protecting the nation's natural and historical heritage, conserving resources for the future, and providing opportunities for beneficial outdoor recreation. Other Republican leaders, however, have fought wilderness protection on the grounds that preservation is an inappropriate government constraint on free markets and is harmful to the economy by limiting commodity production of timber, forage, and minerals.
Jim DiPeso and Tom Pelikan,
The Republican Divide on Wilderness Policy, 33 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.