Welcome to National Wilderness Month!

Mt Denali in Alaska. Photo by wickedpasta, Flickr.

On Sept. 3 we celebrated a milestone in conservation history — the 45th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

President Obama has extended the celebration all month long by commemorating September 2009 as “National Wilderness Month.”

At the same time, the president invited fellow Americans to explore our nation’s wilderness:

“I call upon all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, learn more about our wilderness heritage, and explore what can be done to protect and preserve these precious national treasures.”

Earlier this year, the president demonstrated his commitment to protecting our nation’s wild lands, signing the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which designated over two million acres of wilderness from coast to coast. He has said he will continue to “prioritize wilderness protection” to “ensure that future generations inherit the unique gift of knowing nature’s peace.”

Thanks to the Wilderness Act, some of America’s last few unspoiled landscapes — from Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana to Alaska’s Denali Wilderness — have been protected and remain forever wild.

But some of our last unspoiled places are still awaiting the protection they deserve, including places like the California’s San Gabriel Mountains, Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Washington’s Alpine Lakes, Idaho’s Boulder White Clouds, New Mexico’s El Rio Grande Del Norte, and Maine’s Coastal Islands. Protecting these irreplaceable places as wilderness ensures that we’ll have healthy air, clean water, habitat for wildlife, and great places to visit with our family and friends.

As Americans everywhere celebrate National Wilderness Month, we encourage you to explore places in your backyard that have been permanently protected by the Wilderness Act.

Better yet, if you are fortunate enough to live within striking distance of a place that is being considered for formal wilderness protection, please consider visiting and getting involved in the campaign. For inspiration, learn more about:

  • efforts to protect Southern California’s most accessible and popular “backyard” for millions of southern Californians in the San Gabriel Mountains
  • efforts to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to protect delicate, low elevation forests that provide year round recreational opportunities in Washington State
  • three ongoing campaigns in Colorado that can help to protect some of the vulnerable wild country of the West

Stay tuned for more about our wilderness campaigns throughout National Wilderness Month and beyond.

View the text of President Obama’s proclamation.

See a map of America's newest wild lands and Wilderness.

photo: Mt Denali in Alaska. Photo by wickedpasta, Flickr.