Paddle or hike deep into the South or Southeast arms of Yellowstone National Park, and it's almost like traveling back into the 19th century. Grizzly and wolf tracks cruise the shoreline, you wake to a chorous of birdlife and, in fall, bull elk summon their harems with whistling bugles. Here you find yourself in "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
Across the roughly 85-million-acre National Park System there are, in theory at least, some 70 million acres envisioned as wilderness. Forty-four million acres have received official congressional blessing as such, while another 26 million acres are in something akin to administrative limbo. Some of those 26 million acres -- including 2 million in Yellowstone -- have been recommended for official wilderness designation...and seen that recommendation languish.