Wilderness designation is the highest form of protection the government can give to a public land. No roads, vehicles or permanent structures are allowed in designated wilderness. A wilderness designation also prohibits activities like logging or mining.
Wilderness is designated through wilderness bills and through local, on-the-ground campaigns. The revolutionary Wilderness Act, introduced in 1964, gives Congress the power to protect a public land with a wilderness designation.
Video: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act
Wilderness belongs to us. Protected wilderness has no roads, no development — it is our last unspoiled, natural refuge from the urban world. It’s our job to make sure wilderness thrives for generations to come.
Since the Wilderness Act passed in 1964, Congress has designated nearly 110 million acres of federal wildlands as official wilderness. Official wilderness has the highest form of protection of any federal wildland.
We work with local grassroots coalitions on campaigns to build support for wilderness and other conservation designations, both on the local and congressional levels.
There are persistent issues and threats related to wilderness, from fires to grazing. Because these issues each impact wilderness differently, they require individual analysis and attention.
Every year, new and existing wilderness designation campaigns emerge to protect America’s treasured wildlands.
The revolutionary 1964 Wilderness Act gave Congress the power to permanently protect public lands as wilderness.
Want to know more about wilderness? Check out our Wilderness FAQs.
Stay current on legislation moving in Congress, issues affecting wilderness and wilderness designation campaigns with our Notes from the Hill.
Add your voice to important wilderness causes and take action to stop threats to our wildlands by joining our community of wilderness activists.
Find fact sheets, reports and other resources related to wilderness policy and conservation.
- Friday, January 30, 2015
The Wilderness Society commends the U.S. Forest Service for completing directives to implement the 2012 National Forest Planning Rule. The directives supplement the 2012 Planning Rule by providing detailed policy direction that Forest Service planners will use to revise and amend land management plans for all national forests and grasslands.
- Friday, January 30, 2015
The Wilderness Society released the following statement today regarding a close vote on a conservation amendment (S.A. 92) attached to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill that--had it passed--would have enabled the 50-year old Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to receive full funding for land protection projects around America:
- Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Today, several measures aimed to roll back protections on our nation’s public lands were defeated in the Senate as part of the Keystone XL Pipeline bill. These amendments would have, among other effects, dismantled permanent protection for millions of acres of wilderness quality lands (S.A. 166) that await protection and weakened the Antiquities Act (S.A. 132), a law used by 16 presidents to protect places such as the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.