From the Annals of the Wilds – In 1984, Pres. Ronald Reagan signed the Texas Wilderness Act of 1984 establishing five new wilderness areas in East Texas. The five were the Big Slough Wilderness Area, Indian Mounds Wilderness Area, Little Lake Creek Wilderness Area, Turkey Hill Wilderness Area and Upland Island Wilderness Area. These areas were preserved from logging and development and now serve as islands of wilderness in Texas’ National Forests. In 1979, the Secretary of Agriculture had recommended the establishment of three wilderness areas totaling 10,712 acres. Texas congressman John Bryant sponsored legislation that would have set up ten wilderness areas in Texas covering 65,000 acres, but the bill went nowhere until citizen support expanded in the district of Congressman Charles Wilson, where three of the wildernesses lie. Wilson agreed to a compromise of five wilderness areas totaling 34,700 acres. That compromise was made possible by the willingness of lumber giant Temple-Eastex to trade some of its land inside Upland Island and Indian Mounds for Forest Service land outside.
Imagine a Republican President today signing a bill that creates wilderness areas.