What better time to celebrate --and fight for--our wildlands than during National Wilderness Month.
Photo tour: A glimpse of America's spectacular wilderness areas.
How to help wilderness during September
1. Let members of Congress know you care about wilderness and ask them to pass the more then two dozen wilderness bills that await action.
2. Get out to wilderness and bring a young person with you. Teach them to love the wild, for young people are our future conservationists!
3. When visiting wilderness, use these 29 "leave no trace" principles.
Learn more about wilderness
with the interactive features on this page below and share them through your social networks.
President Obama has proclaimed September to be National Wilderness month, which is fitting given that Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act on Sept. 2, 1964. The act, authored by Wilderness Society's former Executive Director Howard Zahniser, is one of America's bedrock conservation laws. It provides Americans with a powerful tool to conserve our nation's most special wildlands.
Timeline: See how our wilderness protections came to be with the interactive timeline below:
Timeline by PEW, Campaign for America's Wilderness
Will Congress protect more wilderness this year?
In 2009 The Wilderness Society helped gain one of the largest expansions of the wilderness system in modern years.
Since 2009, an anti-wilderness Congress has slowed protections down. Last year we saw one of the most anti-wilderness Congresses since the act was introduced. Our aim is to ensure that the current Congress does not turn out the same.
The good news is that we do have several strong wilderness champions in Congress. These champions have continued to work with their constituents to re-introduce numerous wilderness protection bills for special wild lands in their states.
The bad news is that these bills could languish later this year if Congress does not quicken the pace and pass these bills.
Facts about wilderness:
- A wilderness designation is the highest form of land protection afforded by the government and generally reserved for our most unspoiled lands.
- Since 1964, about 2 percent of the Continental United States has been protected as designated wilderness. The Wilderness Society has been a part of just about every wilderness area designation.
- There are more than 750 wilderness areas across the United States. They encompass magnificent lands from Alaska to Florida, though the bulk of protected wilderness exists in the western part of the country.
- Wilderness designation protects unspoiled lands from activities like mining, oil and gas drilling and road building.
- In wilderness areas you can hike, backpack, birdwatch, hunt, fish, photograph and find amazing opportunities for solitude and recreation.
- It's important to follow leave no trace principles when visiting wilderness.
- Find a wilderness area here.
A major wilderness milestone ahead
In 2014 we'll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. We're already ramping up to celebrate all we have accomplished and looking forward to the future of wilderness. Stay tuned for more!
Find a wilderness area near you:
View the map below to locate designated Wilderness areas near you (click on a green area for more detailed information):