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

    Development of natural areas in the United States, coupled with expected changes in climate, have increased the importance of migration corridors that connect protected natural areas. Large, connected wild lands reduce the isolation of animal and plant populations and allow for migration and movement that can help preserve populations of wild species and enhance genetic and ecosystem diversity. 

  • Sarah Graddy

    An analysis of more than 8,700 low-producing natural gas wells in two counties in the San Juan Basin, San Juan and Rio Arriba, determined that BLM’s rule will have little to no negative impact on these marginal wells.

    The results of the study indicate that the new rule—which aims to reduce waste from venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands—will actually increase overall production and royalties paid to support vital services in the state of New Mexico.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The measure would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, protect two wilderness areas in New Mexico and address water supply and river restoration efforts in the Yakima Basin in Washington state.