Untrammeled! Celebrating 50 Years of American Wilderness

A podcast and radio series that celebrates American wilderness

Episode #3 Death Valley Wilderness

In this show, we explore the largest American wilderness area in the contiguous 48 states. Because of the fresh perspective someone from a contrasting climate could provide, we sent England-born Rachel Hopkin to explore the Death Valley Wilderness, located within the vast expanse of California's Mojave Desert.

Rachel watches the sunrise with Barbara Durham, historic preservation officer of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the first people to live in Death Valley. She visits Scotty's Castle and talks with National Park Service ranger, Abby Wines, about the 1920s-era house built by Albert Johnson, a wealthy businessman. She takes a short walk while talking with the Park's wilderness coordinator, Charlie Callagan, to find out what there is to explore in the more remote recesses of the Park's wilderness. After seeking Ranger Callagan's advice, Rachel sets out on a hike to explore the dry falls of Fall Canyon. She ends her day trip by exploring the night sky above the Park with park ranger and night sky specialist, Dan Duriscoe.

While it's possible to explore the wilderness solitude of Death Valley by car, there's even more to explore by going beyond the limits of roads and deeper into the wilderness. Before going, backcountry campers and backpackers should check out the National Park Service's Death Valley backcountry camping web site. For those with limited experience in desert wilderness travel, we recommend discussing your plans with Park staff before setting out.

The additional music was Pshaw, Pretty Melody, and Solar Gain, by Podington Bear.


Episode #2 Okefenokee Wilderness

In this show, we visit one of the largest marshland wilderness area in the U.S.A.'s wilderness preservation system. Producer Philip Graitcer takes us on a tour of the Okefenokee Wilderness, located in southeast Georgia.

Philip takes a tour of the swamp with Chip Campbell, who runs the visitor services concession. Boating about in the black water, they encounter plenty of wildlife and signs of much more.

Philip talks to Judy Drury, a "swamper" whose family has well over a century of connection with the Okefenokee swamp. Philip gets more scientific about the biology of the swamp with Sara Aicher, a wildlife biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Philip wraps up his profile of the Okeefenokee with a few more wildlife sightings from the boat with Chip Campbell, and from one of the boardwalks with Sara Aicher.

You can explore the Okefenokee Wilderness on the area's 16 miles of developed nature trails. But the most popular way to explore the deep wilderness of the swamp is by canoe. Camping is only available on man-made platforms, which require advanced registration.

The show includes additional music from the song Sad Saz, by Podington Bear, available from the Free Music Archive.


Episode #1 Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

In this inaugural show, author and historian, Doug Scott, talks about the origins of the ongoing movement to protect America's wilderness. Then producer Marci Krivonen explores one of the first wilderness areas protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in Colorado.

Marci joins Jamie Harrison and Kitty Winograd at the outset of a 14-mile day-hike, despite an ominous-looking sky and muddy trail, and along the way enjoys some of the local fauna and flora.

Marci visits Connie Harvey and Joy Caudill. These women, along with the late Dottie Fox, are known as the "Maroon Belles," three women who began the work 50 years ago inspiring wilderness advocates to protect pristine places in western Colorado-including much of the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness.

A wilderness designation unfortunately isn't enough to protect the most popular areas, like Conundrum Hot Springs. Wilderness rangers, Kevin Frazier and Tsipora Prochovnick, and ranger intern, Noah Teller, discuss some of the challenges of protecting high-use destinations. Every visitor can help them out by applying the seven principles of Leave No Trace. Marci wraps up her visit with the rest of the story about Jamie and Kitty's hike.

Doug Scott's book is The Enduring Wilderness: Protecting Our Natural Heritage through the Wilderness Act. Additional music was Spring by the artist QQQ, and Silver Sliver by Podington_Bear, both from the Free Music Archive.