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.

 

  • Jennifer Dickson

    Despite major risks, obstacles and climate change concerns, the proposed plan would allow drilling for oil and gas in this remote, fragile and rapidly warming environment.

    The proposed Chukchi and Beaufort sea lease sales exclude relatively small areas where leasing would be prohibited.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The following statement is from Sally Miller, senior regional conservation representative with The Wilderness Society, regarding Representative Paul Cook’s introduction of legislation to create the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area and include it in the Bureau of Land Management’s system of National Conservation Lands:

  • Michael Reinemer

    Senators Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced the bill along with Republican Senators James Risch of Idaho, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana as well as Democratic Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Maria Cantwell of Washington.

    The bill would change how the federal government budgets for the suppression of wildfire disasters, to make it similar to the way other disasters are funded.