National Forests

Our national forests provide a haven for wildlife and recreationists alike, but they are under constant pressure from threats like logging, mining and road building.

The Wilderness Society is working to keep our forests wild and protected from industrial and other harmful development.

We work with other groups who care about our national forests to protect nearly 59 million acres of America’s forests.

This is important because forests provide us with:

  • Clean drinking water
  • Healthy air
  • Endless recreation opportunities

We focus on two major areas to keep national forests healthy and intact:

  • Protecting the last remaining forests from development
  • Restoring damaged forests to a more natural and wilder condition.

How we work on national forests

Through our National Forest Action Center, The Wilderness Society’s staff works with people on the ground and in local and federal government to keep our forests natural and untouched by modern development.

Our work at the National Forest Action Center is supported by communities and businesses that depend on forests for their livelihoods.

Forest planning

Even protected forests need nurturing. Like tending a garden, we need to make sure forests are healthy. The Wilderness Society has worked on many of the laws and regulations that help us manage our forests, like the “National Forest Management Act” and the “National Forest Planning Rule.”

Forest protection

We use a variety of tools to protect America’s national forests including:

  • Advocating for constructive legislation in Congress.
  • Working with local communities located in and around national forests.
  • Conserving our last remaining roadless areas. The “Roadless Rule” is one of the most successful and important conservation victories of our time.

Forest restoration

Restoring America’s national forests not only creates healthy forests, it also creates long-lasting sustainable jobs. Through our forest restoration program, The Wilderness Society focuses on restoring:

  • Watersheds, which protects our water sources from pollution and contamination.
  • Forests that have been damaged by previous industrial activity or other types of human activity, such as wildfire suppression.

Forest funding

While our national forests provide us with clean drinking water, healthy air and endless recreation opportunities for free, we need to make sure that they are well managed and facilities are maintained. And this costs money. Learn how The Wilderness Society works with people on the ground and government agencies to secure funding for America’s forests.

Forest FAQs

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about national forests.

  • In the first of a three management plans to be released in 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado missed a great opportunity to protect some of Colorado's most treasured landscapes—including the Dolores River, lands surrounding Mesa Verde National Park and recreation hub

  • When school was out for the summer in the suburbs of Manhattan where I grew up, my mom packed our little Subaru hatchback with sleeping bags, a tent, a cooler filled with fruit and sandwich meat, hiking boots, rain gear, and three kids, and headed West.  Like generations before and since, w

  • The Forest Service recently released a plan that could protect much of Colorado’s Thompson Divide from new oil and gas leasing. For years, this spectacular area has been threatened by oil and gas development.