June 19, 1984

Well, I'm glad to welcome all of you to the White House. And I know that all of you here today will agree that God has blessed the American people with a vast and beautiful land, a land of mountains and prairies, lakes and forests that reach from sea to shining sea. And no task facing us is more important than preserving the American land.

Our administration has undertaken this high task with energy and vision. And this year -- well, the year we took office, we began a billion-dollar program to restore and improve our national parks. Our 5-year effort is the largest commitment to the renovation of our national parks that has ever been made. And I might add that it's running a year ahead of schedule.

We've enacted this historic Coastal Barrier Resources Act also. That legislation will help to protect dunes, marshes, and other coastal formations from Maine to Texas, lands that provide irreplaceable feeding and nesting grounds for hundreds of species of fish and waterfowl. And we've made certain that State governments are involved in Federal land management as never before.

We've given our support to legislation that would create some 5 million acres of new wilderness areas. Each of these has been a significant step in the effort to preserve the American land for our children and grandchildren. And today we take another important step forward in this effort.

The legislation that I am about to sign will designate thousands of acres of wilderness area in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Each of these areas is intended to be completely natural -- no housing developments, no powerlines, just forest, rock, wind, and sky. And because of this legislation, these wilderness areas will remain just as they are, places of beauty and serenity for hikers, campers, and fishermen. Generations hence, parents will take their children to these woods to show them how the land must have looked to the first Pilgrims and pioneers. And as Americans wander through these forests, climb these mountains, they will sense the love and majesty of the Creator of all of that.

Everyone here today had a hand in the passage of these bills. And special thanks go to all who -- hard work and dedication made a critical difference. Each of you has my heartfelt thanks. But more important, you have the gratitude, I think, of the American people.

So, thank you. God bless you.

And now I'm going to sign some legislation -- four bills.

Note: The President spoke at 3:03 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

As enacted, H.R. 3578, the Wisconsin Wilderness Act of 1984, is Public Law 98 - 321; H.R. 4198, the Vermont Wilderness Act of 1984, is Public Law 98 - 322; H.R. 3921, the New Hampshire Wilderness Act of 1984, is Public Law 98 - 323; and H.R. 3960, the North Carolina Wilderness Act of 1984, is Public Law 98 - 324. All were approved on June 19.