Captain Moroni's Defense of the Land
     The eastern (gulf) costal plain is not wilderness.  The wilderness stops at the eastern foot of the mountains.  This is why the border between Panama and Colombia runs along the top of these eastern mountains.  The coastal plain is not wilderness.

     Morianton began to establish a land next to (a new) Lehi (The Lehi where Lehi originally landed was far south of Zarahemla).  Both Morianton and (new) Lehi were by the sea
(Alma 50:25).

     After an armed dispute Morianton was going to take his people and flee into the land northward.  This worried Moroni because he had worked very hard to keep all of his enemies to the south and out of the Nephite territories.

   Moroni's forces caught  and stopped Morianton by "the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward" (by the borders of the land Desolation)
(Alma 50:34).
Pan American Highway
     The descriptions of Captain Moroni's efforts to secure the land of Zarahemla against the Lamanites is priceless in gaining an understanding of the geography of the Book of Mormon lands.  This can be broken up into 3 major campaigns. 

The defense of the cities south of Zarahemla (west of the River Sidon) (Alma 49:1,12,14,24; Alma 52:11).

The removal of the Lamanites from the eastern wilderness       (This is swamp land) (Alma 50:7).

Stopping Morianton from getting into the Land of Desolation through the "narrow pass" and the re-conquest of the cities on the east sea (see below).
Narrow Pass by the sea
     The Lamanites came north against the land of Zarahemla (Alma 51:11).

     They bypassed Zarahemla and took Moroni, Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid, and Mulek (All by the seashore)
(Alma 51:26).

     They also wanted to go through the narrow pass and take the land northward
(Alma 51:30).

      At Bountiful they were stopped by the force which had killed Morianton
(Alma 51:31).  Each of the cities which had been taken had been defense hardened (fortified) by Moroni, making them very difficult to take back. Now there was a stalemate with the Nephites armies in Bountiful, and the Lamanites in Mulek.

     After a year and a half, Teancum took a small force and marched down by the seashore (by the city Mulek).  Moroni took his force by night
"in the wilderness on the west of the city of Mulek" (Alma 52:22).

     The Lamanites chased Teancum back toward Bountiful while Moroni came in through the back door and took Mulek.  The Lamanites were now caught out in the open between two forces and were all killed or captured by the Nephites.
Teancum's Small Force
Moroni's Army
     The point is that all of these cities were by the east sea.  Indeed, just as Lehi was the city where Lehi first landed, Mulek could easily be the city where the Mulek first landed with his people.  For this story to work geographically, there must be a wilderness west of the city Mulek, and a narrow pass by the sea leading northward toward the land Desolation.
"New Mellennium Atlas" by Rand McNally
"New Mellennium Atlas" by Rand McNally
"New Mellennium Atlas" by Rand McNally
Today Darien National Park
     The Darien National Park (Panama) to this day is a true wilderness and natural barrier.  The Pan American Highway stops at Yaviza and restarts in Colombia.  It doesn't pass through the Darien National Park largely because of how rugged, and full of wildlife this country is.
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