History

The Wilderness Society has been at the forefront of nearly every major public lands victory since 1935.

We have led the effort to protect permanently nearly 110 million acres of wilderness in 44 states.  From the revolutionary 1964 Wilderness Act to the landmark 2009 bill that protected more than two million acres of wilderness across the country, The Wilderness Society has helped preserve public wild lands, including:

  • Rich hardwood forests in the East
  • Stunning deserts in the Southwest
  • Snowcapped peaks in the Rockies
  • Old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest
  • Tundra in Alaska

The Wilderness Society remains true to our founders’ principles and dedicated to the concept that careful, credible science, bold advocacy and unswerving vision are essential underpinnings of wilderness conservation policy.

Wilderness Timeline

Since its founding in 1935, The Wilderness Society has helped to form the cornerstone of the movement to save America’s vanishing wilderness. 

Wilderness Act

The Wilderness Society was instrumental in passing the Wilderness Act of 1964. The act defines wilderness and provides for its legislative protection in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Famous Quotes

The words of our founders and other conservation pioneers, as well as modern day activists and wilderness lovers, capture the ongoing struggle to protect our public wild lands.
 

  • Michael Reinemer

    Strayed will receive the We Are the Wild Inspiration Award, which recognizes a person who embodies the spirit of wilderness and its transformative power.

    Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, said, “In this 50th anniversary year of the Wilderness Act, we present this award to underscore the importance of inspiring people to discover and care for our wild lands. Today we honor Cheryl Strayed for her remarkable story and for inspiring new generations to experience wilderness, which forms the backbone of the American spirit.”

  • Michael Reinemer

    President Obama will use his executive authority to create the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, an action that will improve outdoor recreation, safeguard vital water supplies and protect wildlife in the backyard of Los Angeles – the nation’s most populous county.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Wilderness Society applauds the Obama Administration for advancing bipartisan efforts to further protect ocean ecosystems and their scientific value by using the Antiquities Act to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, an undisturbed island and atoll chain located 1,000 miles southwest of Hawaii. The proclamation builds on the approximately 83,000 square-mile national monument initially designated by President George W. Bush in 2009.