A new era begins for wild lands: Welcome Mr. President!

Designated coastal wilderness in Olympic National Park, Washington. Photo by Jeff Fox.

For the past eight years, The Wilderness Society and other conservationists have fought constantly to protect America’s natural treasures from an administration more interested in promoting commercial development of them.

With the inauguration of President Barack Obama, we have renewed hope for our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands. The new president has a good voting record and has been appointing men and women committed to protecting our natural legacy. Members of our staff have been working with some of them and are impressed also by their determination to develop a sound national energy policy and tackle global warming.

There is much to be done. We are urging the Obama administration to:

  • Permanently protect the roadless areas in our national forests
  • Pursue a forward-looking and clean energy policy that rejects drilling on our best public lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Create green jobs through projects that restore national forests damaged by logging, off-road vehicle use, and other activities
  • Support protection of wildlands by adding them to the National Wilderness Preservation System or by designating them as national monuments or other special units
  • Address global warming and the threats it poses to people, wildlife, and our lands

You can find a more comprehensive version of our agenda here.

This improvement in national leadership does not mean that there will be no problems for the lands that belong to all Americans. Industries eager to exploit our lands will continue to press for access. Inappropriate use of motorized vehicles will remain a threat. Funding needed to care for these special places will be in short supply.

That’s why Americans must continue to honor their obligation to protect this unique inheritance for future generations. As President Theodore Roosevelt once put it: “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

We hope you will continue to work with us to take advantage of the new opportunities. Every single day counts.

photo: Designated coastal wilderness in Olympic National Park, Washington. Photo by Jeff Fox.