It was 40 years ago that the Wilderness Act came into being as part of the effort to protect America’s wild lands. And, a group known as the Campaign for America’s Wilderness is marking the anniversary by encouraging Missourians and other Americans to work to preserve our forests. Mike Matz, the Campaign’s Executive Director, says his group is pragmatic in that it believes civilization and wilderness can exist side by side. And while some groups oppose the removal of forest fuels – dead trees, fallen branches, leaves, and the like – his group sees this as a reasonable option in dealing with forest fires. Matz says prescribed burns or lightning strikes might actually make for healthier forests. In Missouri … the Mark Twain National Forest, the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, and the Irish Wilderness are parts of the National Wilderness Preservation System.