Wilderness, Water, and Climate Change

74 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2012

See all articles by Sandra B. Zellmer

Sandra B. Zellmer

University of Montana - Alexander Blewett III School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2012


As the nation searches for climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, the pressure to develop water resources within wilderness areas and to exploit the timber, forage, wildlife, fish, and other virtually untapped components of wilderness will become more acute. This Article makes the case that managers and legislatures should not yield to this pressure and argues that, if anything, the need to preserve untrammeled wilderness characteristics is just as imperative today as it was in 1964 when the Wilderness Act was passed.

The Article examines the potency of the Wilderness Act and a trio of federal water law doctrines--federally reserved water rights, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and the Clean Water Act--and finds that, while no single one of these doctrines can accomplish the task alone, if implemented in a more complementary fashion, together they can be effective in protecting the wild.

Keywords: Wilderness, Park, Water, Climate, Preservation, Mitigation, Adaptation

JEL Classification: K32, N50, O13, Q20

Suggested Citation

Zellmer, Sandra B., Wilderness, Water, and Climate Change (January 1, 2012). Environmental Law, Vol. 42, No. 313, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2093214

Sandra B. Zellmer (Contact Author)

University of Montana - Alexander Blewett III School of Law ( email )

Missoula, MT 59812-0002
United States
406-243-6653 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.umt.edu/law/faculty/directory/default.php?ID=5355

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