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The Transcendentalists and Their Influence on the Creation of Public Land in America

Currently, there are about 640 million acres of public land in the United States – roughly one quarter of the country’s entire acreage. This land is available to all Americans for various forms of outdoor recreation, hiking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping, and foraging to name a few. Often referred to as “America’s best idea,” public land systems have been emulated in numerous countries around the world. Although many are aware of the influence Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir had on the creation of the public land system, few discuss the earlier roots and the influence the Transcendentalists had on this uniquely American movement.

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