Hot Issues

Wilderness can’t protect itself. That’s why it’s important to know the issues — from managing roads and building trails in national forests to steering energy projects away from sensitive places.

At Wilderness, we use a blend of policy, partnerships and science to address important issues affecting designated wilderness and other wildlands. Our policy work focuses on the following areas:

Wilderness designation

Using the Wilderness Act, Congress is able to designate new public lands as wilderness. A mere 5 percent of public lands is designated wilderness — roughly 110 million acres. We need to protect millions of acres more.

Monument designation

The president can designate public lands as national monuments using the Antiquities Act. When a wildland receives monument designation, it also gains new protections against development and other threats.

National forests

National forests are a vital part of America’s public land system. So much of what makes our country special would vanish without them.

Public lands

Our public lands face many threats —energy development, off-road vehicle use and other development activities. At Wilderness, we work with the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies to balance how we use and protect public lands.

Oil and gas

Much of the oil and gas produced in the United States comes from public lands. Our work helps to protect these lands from further harmful development of fossil fuels.

Renewable energy

Clean energy sources like wind and solar can help us reduce climate change, but can harm wildlife and wildlands if not sited carefully.

Conservation funding

When funding exists for important conservation projects, there’s a better chance that wilderness is protected, studied and managed well.

Outdoor recreation

Millions of Americans enjoy recreation on our public lands each year. It’s important to balance opening wildlands to recreation opportunities while also protecting them from harm.


  • Anastasia Greene

    “Secretary Jewell is on the right track. The plan to pursue cancellation of this oil and gas lease sets the stage for getting rid of the remaining leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “This is not only an ecologically invaluable link between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, it’s a sacred place for the Blackfeet Nation and a stronghold for the Blackfeet culture.

  • Michael Reinemer

    “In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to have a bipartisan group of Senators at the grown-ups’ table showing real leadership by advancing legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, in S. 556,” said Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations for Lands at The Wilderness Society.  “That contrasts with Rep.

  • Michael Reinemer

    Today federal legislation to protect and enhance the Yakima River basin’s fisheries, ecosystem and water supply was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.