Forest Protection

Our forests provide drinking water for 60 million people. The relationship between land and water is clear: what you do to the land, you do to the water.

The Wilderness Society works with people to protect our national forests. From local communities to members of Congress, from timber workers to folks in the White House, we are working to save our forests.  

Local communities depend on forests and forests depend on the communities that surround them. Federal forest policies need to work for the people as well as the land.

Pending forest bills

One of the ways in which we protect our forests is through legislation in Congress. By working with lawmakers, we can find solutions that protect our forests and the livelihoods of the people who depend on forests for jobs.

Currently, we are working on passing three important bills:

  • Secure Rural Schools Act
    This bill provides funding for school improvement programs and stewardship projects in our national forests.
  • Roadless Area Conservation Act
    This bill would make the landmark “Roadless Rule” an act of Congress.
  • Forest Service Appropriations Act
    This bill would determine how well maintained trails and campgrounds are and whether the Forest Service can buy any new national forest land.

Roads, vehicles and access

Did you know there are about 380,000 miles of roads in our national forests? That’s enough to travel around the earth at the equator 15 times. Left over from a bygone era of poor logging practices, many of these roads are no longer in use and have fallen into disrepair, leading to serious problems in our forests.

Our work to address the road problem includes:

  • Right-sizing an outdated road system in our national forests
  • Managing off-road vehicles

Conserving roadless areas

Roadless national forest lands are some of the most pristine in America. They were not affected by the timber boom in the 1950s to 1980s, and have not been destroyed by mining or other reckless development. The Wilderness Society is working to conserve roadless areas across the United States.

Thanks to the Roadless Rule, 50 million acres of national forest roadless areas are protected from new roads and logging. After powerful industries tried to fight them in the courts, this rule is now the law of the land.

Colorado and Idaho have proposed their own roadless rules that pertain only to areas in the state. This means that local communities and The Wilderness Society are constantly advocating for the protection of the many thousands of acres of roadless forests left unprotected in these two states.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument will be a unit of the National Park Service and was announced on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which was established on August 25, 1916.

  • Max Greenberg

    The next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, meaning that Congress is running out of time to cobble together "must-pass" appropriations legislation that will pay for the day-to-day expenses of the federal government.

    But in what has become a sad annual commentary on some leaders' dereliction of America's conservation tradition, the process is gummed up with counterproductive “riders” that have no place in the appropriations process, and would hurt wildlands right when they sorely need our help.

  • Jennifer Dickson

    The court rejected a claim by Elko County Nevada that it owns a road, commonly known as the South Canyon Road, at the edge of the Jarbidge Wilderness within the federally managed Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The ruling officially disapproved a 2001 settlement agreement between the United States and Elko County that would have given the county the right-of-way.