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40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act Celebrated in Austin and in Johnson City

Johnson City and Austin, TX -- Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park and Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum have joined forces to commemorate the 40 th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. This milestone legislation was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3, 1964 in the White House Rose Garden, simultaneous with the establishment of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. In his remarks, President Johnson stated that the Wilderness Bill "preserves for our posterity, for all time to come, nine million acres of this vast continent in their original and unchanging beauty and wonder."

The national historical park will feature a photography display and talk by Laurence Parent, the well known landscape photographer based in Wimberley, Texas, on Saturday September 18, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. in the park Visitor Center in Johnson City . Parent will speak about his travels through designated wilderness and other particularly scenic areas, armed with his photographic expertise and a desire to inspire people to protect our world's beautiful natural and historical heritage. It is particularly appropriate that Parent speak at Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, since his father was a National Park Service ranger and Parent grew up in the national parks.

The library and museum has prepared a special exhibit to observe this anniversary that includes one of the pens President Johnson used to sign the Wilderness Act and a facsimile of the bill itself. By signing this bill into law, Johnson created the National Wilderness Preservation System. The intent of the Wilderness Act was to "…secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness." There are now more than 100 million acres protected in the National Wilderness System, including 662 separate areas. The smallest is Pelican Island, Florida, with just five acres. The largest, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, contains more than nine million acres. Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas, designated in 1978, is one of six wilderness areas in the state; the other five are administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is free of charge and open to the public seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Laurence Parent program at Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is also free of charge and will coincide with National Public Lands Day, when entrance fees to national parks will be waived. In addition, the fee for the bus tour of the LBJ Ranch will be waived on that day.

To obtain additional information about the Laurence Parent display or program and/or for driving information to the park visitor center in Johnson City, call (830) 868-7128, extension 244, or visit www.nps.gov/lyjo .