Conflict of values necessitates public lands research policy



What kind of research can be permitted on public lands? For wilderness, a narrow reading of the Wilderness Act would restrict work to observation and limited sampling. This effectively excludes modern geoscience from investigating some of the nation's outstanding geological features. However, the same Act speaks of geological and other scientific values, the continuation of previously established forms of access, and mechanized access for safety and administrative purposes. The latter may well overlap with scientific objectives.