Wilderness art featured at Moscow Co-op

BY ADDY FORTE | Evergreen fine arts reporter

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Untamed and untouched, the “Wilderness 50: The Big Wild Photo Exhibit” takes viewers to the middle of the wilderness.

Brett Haverstick, education and outreach director of the Friends of the Clearwater, said the photos offer a glimpse of the wilderness and inspiration for people to go out for themselves and discover why the wilderness is so special.

Friends of the Clearwater is a public land advocacy group based in Moscow, Idaho., and provided the photos in the exhibit hosted by the Moscow Food Co-op. They work to protect public lands and waters as well as local species, through action and education. Part of the Friends of the Clearwater’s mission is to teach people the skills needed to visit the wilderness without disturbing it.

The exhibit opens at the Moscow Food Co-op from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday with a reception and snacks.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Haverstick said hopefully the exhibit will draw attention to the legislation. The Wilderness Act was passed by congress on Sept. 3, 1964.

“For the first time in this country we decided to set aside significant landscapes apart from development,” Haverstick said. “Free from human manipulation.”

Wilderness areas are those isolated from any human development or intervention. There are no roads and no motor vehicles allowed in wildernesses. Visitors have to travel by foot.

The four wildernesses captured by the exhibit are those the organization found vital in preserving native species. The organization found the Selway-Bitterroot, Frank Church-River of No Return, Gospel-Hump, and Hells Canyon wildernesses located in central Idaho.

Ashley Lipscomb, a board member of The Friends of the Clearwater, said the group’s mission is to ensure the irreplaceable landscapes go untouched by human development.

“Idaho has some of the most ecologically robust landscapes,” Lipscomb said. “That alone is what drives our desire to protect them.”

Ecosystem Defense Director Gary Macfarlane is a longtime advocate for wilderness preservation. Friends of the Clearwater monitors Wild Clearwater Country, the lower half of a designated wilderness area called the Big Wild.

“Our goal is to ensure the biological integrity of the area,” Macfarlane said. “We let nature decide the fate of those areas.”

The exhibit is located in the gallery section of the Moscow Food Co-op and will be available for viewing till Oct. 8.

The 50th anniversary Wilderness Celebration will continue this weekend at the Wilderness Gateway Campground and include: speakers, discussion groups, children’s activities, live music and more. For more information, visit FriendsOfTheClearwater.org/Wilderness50/.