David Myers, The Wildlands Conservancy

Wilderness within ourselves

OAK GLEN, CA. As David Myers gazes up toward 8,707-foot Wilshire Peak, he cites John Muir: "No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty."

It's easy to muse on beauty here at Oak Glen Preserve in the San Bernardino Mountains. It's the headquarters of Myers's group, the Wildlands Conservancy, which since 1995 has preserved hundreds of square miles of California at its loveliest. Last year the conservancy scored a triumph by acquiring 525,000 acres of desert land from the Catellus Development Corporation. But Myers is equally proud of Wildlands' education programs, which each year draw thousands of schoolchildren to its preserves.

"The boundaries we designate for wilderness areas aren't sacrosanct," Myers says. "What is sacrosanct are the hearts and minds of those who believe in those areas. That's why we put so much effort into education. We have to maintain a belief in wilderness within ourselves."

The Wildlands Conservancy, or (909) 797-8507.

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