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

    Citing some of “the most beautiful and iconic landscapes on earth” in Teton County’s backyard, the board of commissioners Tuesday morning unanimously passed a resolution that “opposes any and all efforts by the State of Wyoming to obtain the wholesale transfer of federal lands in Wyoming” to the state. In January, Sweetwater County filed a letter with the state legislature stating similar opposition to measures that would turn over federal public lands—such as parks, wilderness, and national forests—to state jurisdiction and management.

  • Tim Woody

    In spite of Royal Dutch Shell’s disastrous performance during the 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today conditionally approved the company’s 2015 exploration plan, which provides even fewer safeguards for the Chukchi Sea and its sensitive coastline than Shell had in place three years ago. Shell also plans to bring a different rig operated by a new contractor to the Arctic Ocean in 2015, which could result in unexpected transport and drilling problems.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Wilderness Society strongly supports bipartisan legislation, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 (S. 235, H.R. 167), to fix a budgetary problem called “fire borrowing.”  This is a destructive cycle in which the Forest Service is forced to take funds from other forest programs when its allotted wildfire funds are used up, essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul to put out fires in our national forests.