History

The Wilderness Society has been at the forefront of nearly every major public lands victory since 1935.

We have led the effort to protect permanently nearly 110 million acres of wilderness in 44 states.  From the revolutionary 1964 Wilderness Act to the landmark 2009 bill that protected more than two million acres of wilderness across the country, The Wilderness Society has helped preserve public wild lands, including:

  • Rich hardwood forests in the East
  • Stunning deserts in the Southwest
  • Snowcapped peaks in the Rockies
  • Old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest
  • Tundra in Alaska

The Wilderness Society remains true to our founders’ principles and dedicated to the concept that careful, credible science, bold advocacy and unswerving vision are essential underpinnings of wilderness conservation policy.

Wilderness Timeline

Since its founding in 1935, The Wilderness Society has helped to form the cornerstone of the movement to save America’s vanishing wilderness. 

Wilderness Act

The Wilderness Society was instrumental in passing the Wilderness Act of 1964. The act defines wilderness and provides for its legislative protection in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Famous Quotes

The words of our founders and other conservation pioneers, as well as modern day activists and wilderness lovers, capture the ongoing struggle to protect our public wild lands.

Awards

Learn about The Ansel Adams Award and The Robert Marshall Award and see past recepients.
 

  • Alex Thompson

    Today, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management announced a new methane waste rule to replace its own regulations that went into effect only about one year ago. The new rule eliminates important environmental and public health protections established under the 2016 rule and will result in increased natural gas waste and reduced taxpayer revenue.

    The following statement is from Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society:

  • Michael Reinemer

    President Trump’s infrastructure and budget proposals are essentially Valentine’s gifts to oil, gas, coal and other extractive interests.

    The plans would increase fossil fuel development on public lands, weaken environmental safeguards, drain funds from conservation programs and even allow selling off public lands to pay for infrastructure.

    Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society, said:

  • Michael Reinemer

    Public lands and environmental protections would be steamrolled under President Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan according to The Wilderness Society’s review of leaked White House documents.  His proposed fiscal year 2019 budget would likely further hobble budgets of federal land management agencies and choke vital programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Both are expected to be released on February 12.

    Drew McConville, Senior Managing Director at The Wilderness Society, said: