Hubert Humphrey, introducing the first Wilderness Act on the Senate floor, stated that,
"....from now on the agency having jurisdiction over any area within this [Wilderness] System will have the sanction and encouragement of Congress and the legal responsibility for preserving the area's wilderness character." (Congressional Record, June 7, 1956, page 9772.)
Howard Zahniser, principal author of the 1964 Wilderness Act, stated that,
"It behooves us then to do two things: First, we must see that an adequate system of wilderness areas is designed for preservation, and then we must allow nothing to alter the wilderness character of the preserves." (Zahniser, H. 1956. The need for wilderness areas. The Living Wilderness 59:37-43.)
"In all concern with wilderness, the first safety must be for the wilderness character itself." (Zahniser, H. 1961. Managed to be left unmanaged. The Living Wilderness 76:2.)
"The purpose of the Wilderness Act is to preserve the wilderness character of the areas to be included in the wilderness system, not to establish any particular use." (Zahniser, H. 1962. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Public Lands of the Committee on Interior Affairs, House of Representatives, 87th Congress, 2nd session., May 7-11, serial no. 12, part IV.)
The Wilderness Act of 1964, Statement of Policy, Section 2(a) states that,
"a National Wilderness Preservation System...shall be administered...so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character."
The Wilderness Act of 1964, Use of Wilderness Areas, Section 4(b) states that,
"each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area and shall so administer such area for such other purposes for which it may have been established as also to preserve its wilderness character."
The Congressional Record states that,
"The overriding principle guiding management of all wilderness areas, regardless of which agency administers them, is the Wilderness Act (section 4(b)) mandate to preserve their wilderness character." (U.S. Congress. 1983. U.S. House Report 98-40 from the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, March 18, page 43.)
Forest Service Policy, Manual Chapter 2320.2, No. 4, directs the agency to
"protect and perpetuate wilderness character."
See Also: The Wilderness Act