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.
- Monday, January 22, 2018
The state of Alaska is attempting to repeal long-standing protections for old-growth forests by requesting an exemption to the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
The following statement is from Megan Birzell, National Forests Campaign Manager:
- Friday, January 19, 2018
Out of public view during the government shutdown today, officials of the U.S. Department of the Interior and Alaska’s King Cove Corporation signed an agreement authorizing a land exchange and construction of a needless road through Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and its designated wilderness area.
- Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Actions to roll back protections for public lands and reverse progress on pollution control and climate change all point to the Trump administration’s goal: Selling out public lands owned by all Americans in the pursuit of dirty energy so a handful of private interests can profit. (See interactive timeline documenting White House actions over the past 12 months.)
Below are highlights of some of the low points from the past year, plus Trump’s spin.