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Gorgeous Glimpses of America’s Last Wild Places

Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Wilderness Act, preserving our country's most beautiful landscapes for future generations. Take a look at some of the areas, including their stunningly diverse flora and fauna which are flourishing thanks to the law's protection.

Tim Aiken/NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

The highs and lows of the Alaska Range, Alaska

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Dawn LaPointe/NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

A paddler at sunset, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Superior National Forest, Minnesota

Joe LeFevere/NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

The Milky Way twinkles, Second Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

Thomas Goebel//NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

The waters of Proxy Falls rush on, Three Sisters Wilderness area, Oregon

DeeAnn Pederson/NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

Romping red foxes, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Richard Ansley/NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

The petrified sand dunes of White Pocket tower, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area, Arizona

Pablo McLoud/NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

The alluring Aurora Ridge Trail, Sol Duc Valley, Olympic National Park, Washington

Scott Joshua Dere/NBP Courtesy of Nature's Best Photography

An adult male snowy owl greets the dawn, Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness area, New York

These images are from the photo exhibit Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The exhibit runs through summer 2015.

Verdon Tomajko/NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

Lightning leads to a gathering of mountain goats, Mount Evans, Colorado

Robert Amoruso / NBP Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography

A brown bear goes salmon fishing, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Originally Published in Reader's Digest