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

    The Wilderness Society commends the Obama Administration for making history today by quadrupling the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, now the largest protected area in the world, measuring 582,578 square miles.

  • 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.