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.

Awards

Learn about The Ansel Adams Award and The Robert Marshall Award and see past recepients.
 

  • Michael Reinemer

    As the Obama Administration draws to a close, we recognize President Obama's accomplishments in land conservation, energy reforms, efforts to help more Americans visit our great outdoors and honoring America’s diverse culture and history.

  • Anastasia Greene

    Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Representative Ryan Zinke appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to answer questions at his confirmation hearing to serve as Secretary of the Interior.

    The Wilderness Society president, Jamie Williams issued the following statement:

    “It was heartening to see Ryan Zinke voice his strong support for our parks and other public lands, but at the same time he questioned settled science around climate change and called for the rollback of the BLM's new rule to curb natural gas waste.

  • Anastasia Greene

    After a ten-year environmental review with record public involvement, today the Forest Service issued its final decision to not lease 40,000 acres of sprawling wild lands in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.