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.

  • Tim Woody

    One year after Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to forbid the construction of a road through federally designated wilderness in Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, members of the conservation community are encouraging an effort to find a permanent alternative solution to meet the transportation needs of King Cove.

  • Neil Shader

    The Wilderness Society’s annual year-end  Comparative Analysis of Particular Excellence (CAPE) awards celebrate the agency’s achievements towards wildlands conservation and balanced management of our public lands.

    In this 50th Anniversary year of the Wilderness Act, Director Kornze and the National Office showed tremendous leadership in their dedication to protecting wilderness for our future generations.

  • Neil Shader

    The new guidance requires analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has to include effects on climate change – including resource extraction and timber harvesting on federal lands.