"Hellacious Acres", Deroy Murdock's article in NRO, along with the accompanying map, is a reminder that the concept of wilderness plays a part in US environmentalism that has little echo in Europe.
I think, and the areas owned by Washington seem to support the thesis, that it is all tied up with the myth of the western frontier as having somehow defined the American spirit.
Wilderness preservation is, of course, a rather extravagant (this is the States, after all) expression of the universal not-in-my-backyardism (NIMBY) reflex of those who wish to pull up the ladder, more accurately described as dog-in-the-mangerism.
Declaring an area a wilderness puts severe limits on the construction of access roads and other facilities that would permit the hoi polloi to "spoil" areas of natural beauty, so that those with the means and leisure can enjoy the pleasing sensation of being "away from it all". And, oh yes, should those away from it all get into trouble, they can use their Blackberries to summon up Park Rangers whose salaries are paid for by all.
Then there's the teensy problem that, left to their own devices, forests periodically renew themselves with massive fires, which threaten the houses-with-an-unspoiled-view of the rich nimbys. So they must be suppressed, again at public expense.
But that stunts the natural development of forests, in particular the new growth that sucks up an enormous amount of carbon dioxide. Nimbys also oppose logging, which turns the carbon dioxide already locked up in mature trees into non-polluting construction timber.
The whole eek!-o-freak phenomenon is NIMBY in one way or another; unsurprisingly, it is most loathsomely apparent in the country that gave birth to it.