Paul Bunyan and Baby Babe
‘Wilderness’ has a deceptive concreteness at first glance. The difficulty is that while the word is a noun it acts like an adjective. There is no specific material object that is wilderness. The term designates a quality (as the “-ness” suggests) that produces a certain mood or feeling in a given individual and, as a consequence, may be assigned by that person to a specific place. Because of this subjectivity a universally accepted definition of wilderness is elusive. One man’s wilderness may be another’s roadside picnic ground.
- Roderick Frazier Nash in Wilderness in the American Mind