Why These Issues

Hikers at Rattlesnake Mountain in Maine
babyturkk, Flickr
Wilderness protection comes in many shapes and sizes — from designating new wilderness and national monuments to making sure our national forests are well managed and there are adequate trails for recreation.

Americans own 618 million acres of public lands, 110 million acres of which are protected as pristine, untouched wilderness. National policies dictate how public lands and wilderness designated within them are used, maintained and preserved.

National policy areas in which The Wilderness Society works include:

National policies dictate how public lands and wilderness designated within them are used, maintained and preserved.

Wilderness and monuments

New public lands can be protected through wilderness designation and national monument designation. We work on designation campaigns to ensure that future wilderness gains the protections it deserves.

National forests and Bureau of Land Management lands

The U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are two federal agencies that manage our national forests and public lands. There are many issues within these areas — managing roads, vehicles and access, for example — that affect the health of these important forests and wildlands.

Oil, gas and renewable energy

Public lands are open for both fossil fuel and renewable energy development. It’s important to make sure that both types of energy projects are done in a way that has the least impact on sensitive wildlands.

Outdoor recreation

Our public lands are valuable places for outdoor recreation. Recreation benefits us, our communities and our local economies. It’s important to support sustainable outdoor recreation on our public lands.

Conservation funding

Adequate conservation funding is key to ensuring wilderness is protected. Whether through taxpayer dollars or other funds, it is necessary for the federal government to designate funds for conservation projects.