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.

 

  • 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.