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.

  • Michael Reinemer

    Senator Cantwell, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has scheduled a hearing in Seattle on August 27 to examine wildfire issues.  Senator John Barrasso, who chairs that committee’s Public Lands, Forests and Mining subcommittee, is also scheduled to participate in the hearing.

  • Tim Woody

    When President Obama visits Alaska at the end of August, climate change will be a key focus of his trip. The Wilderness Society developed the following memo to provide a brief primer on key Alaska public lands where the effects of climate change can already be seen. This information is intended to ease your research and inform your reporting during the president’s visit. It focuses on four areas where the president’s administration has made major, important decisions:

  • Anastasia Greene

    “We are heartened to see that President Obama is focusing on clean energy as part of building an enduring environmental legacy in the last 18 months of his presidency, and the Clean Power Plan is a good start,” said Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society, one of the oldest conservation groups in the United States. "This administration has shifted the role our public lands play in powering the nation. We have solar projects on public lands for the first time ever.