Wilderness designation is the highest form of protection the government can give to a public land. No roads, vehicles or permanent structures are allowed in designated wilderness. A wilderness designation also prohibits activities like logging or mining.
Wilderness is designated through wilderness bills and through local, on-the-ground campaigns. The revolutionary Wilderness Act, introduced in 1964, gives Congress the power to protect a public land with a wilderness designation.
Video: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act
Wilderness belongs to us. Protected wilderness has no roads, no development — it is our last unspoiled, natural refuge from the urban world. It’s our job to make sure wilderness thrives for generations to come.
Since the Wilderness Act passed in 1964, Congress has designated nearly 110 million acres of federal wildlands as official wilderness. Official wilderness has the highest form of protection of any federal wildland.
We work with local grassroots coalitions on campaigns to build support for wilderness and other conservation designations, both on the local and congressional levels.
There are persistent issues and threats related to wilderness, from fires to grazing. Because these issues each impact wilderness differently, they require individual analysis and attention.
Every year, new and existing wilderness designation campaigns emerge to protect America’s treasured wildlands.
The revolutionary 1964 Wilderness Act gave Congress the power to permanently protect public lands as wilderness.
Want to know more about wilderness? Check out our Wilderness FAQs.
Stay current on legislation moving in Congress, issues affecting wilderness and wilderness designation campaigns with our Notes from the Hill.
Add your voice to important wilderness causes and take action to stop threats to our wildlands by joining our community of wilderness activists.
Find fact sheets, reports and other resources related to wilderness policy and conservation.
- Thursday, October 19, 2017
The U.S. Senate today failed to remove a provision for its budget resolution that is designed to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling after decades of bipartisan support
- Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, issued this statement:
“We are saddened by the passing of Bill Turnage earlier this week. Bill served as executive director of The Wilderness Society from 1978 to 1986, a transformative period in our organization’s history.
- Friday, October 13, 2017
The Wilderness Society commends Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA 24) for their courage and foresight in seeking protections for wildlands stretching across California’s rugged and scenic Central Coast. At a time when America’s shared public lands are under attack, these leaders are taking action to preserve critical natural resources, native plant and wildlife habitat, and access to nature for generations to come.