Issues and Threats

Labyrinth Canyon, Utah
Ray Bloxam
Many of the issues and threats to our public lands come from those who would seek to develop our wild places, rather than save it for our children.

These threats range from unchecked development to drilling in our nation’s wild places.

Development on public lands

Developers already have access to more than 75 percent of our national forests and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. But some developers, and some in Congress, want even more access to our nation’s wildest places.

While there is a place for development on some public land, The Wilderness Society believes that there are some places that are too wild to be developed, and must be protected for our children and grandchildren.

We are working for a balanced approach to our nation’s public lands. Today, less than a quarter of our public lands have some kind of wilderness protection, and The Wilderness Society is dedicated to fighting development in places where important wild places are threatened.

Our last wild places do so much for the environment, for wildlife and for the communities around them that get clean water and jobs from our growing recreation economy.  It’s our mission to protect them from unchecked development that would destroy them forever. 

Drilling and other energy development  

Our public lands are a major source of energy for our country. Millions of acres of public land provide energy like oil, natural gas and renewable energy for the American people. 

While energy development is, and always has been, a use of our public lands, there are some places that are too wild to drill, and must be protected. The Wilderness Society is working to have a balanced approach to energy development on public land, so that the most important wild places in our nation remain untouched by energy development.

The oil industry, for example, has access to most of our public land. The industry leases tens of millions of acres of public land where they can look for oil, and thousands of permits to drill on our public lands. Drilling on public land can have a serious impact on the land and the surrounding environment, including pollution and a negative effect on wildlife.

The Wilderness Society works to steer energy development to the right places on our public land, so that we can make sure that our wildest places are here for generations to come.

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