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

    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.