Beauty in the National Wilderness Preservation System

Created in 1964, the National Wilderness Preservation System assures the continued existence of wild land and vital ecosystems within the United States.

| August/September 2009

  • Paria Canyons-Vermilion Cliffs, Utah
    Paria Canyons, Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Utah.
    JAMES W. KAY; WWW.JAMESKAY.COM
  • National Wilderness Preservation System - North Cascades National Park, Washington
    The National Wilderness Preservation System includes North Cascades National Park in Washington state.
    PHOTO: MARY LIZ AUSTIN; WWW.DONNELLY-AUSTIN.COM
  • Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon
    Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon.
    STEVE TERRILL; WWW.TERRILLPHOTO.COM
  • Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
    Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona.
    SCOTT ATKINSON
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
    Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina.
    LARRY ULRICH; WWW.LARRYULRICH.COM
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
    Glacier National Park, Montana.
    LARRY ULRICH; WWW.LARRYULRICH.COM
  • White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
    White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire.
    CARR CLIFTON; WWW.CARRCLIFTON.COM
  • Poodle Mountain Wilderness Study Area, Nevada
    Poodle Mountain Wilderness Study Area, Nevada.
    SCOTT SMITH; WWW.SEESCOTT.COM
  • Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, Iowa
    Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, Iowa.
    TOM TILL; WWW.TOMTILL.COM
  • Lake Clark National Park, Alaska
    Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.
    FRED HIRSCHMANN; WWW.AGPIX.COM/HIRSCHMANN

  • Paria Canyons-Vermilion Cliffs, Utah
  • National Wilderness Preservation System - North Cascades National Park, Washington
  • Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon
  • Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
  • White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
  • Poodle Mountain Wilderness Study Area, Nevada
  • Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, Iowa
  • Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Harvey Broome, co-founder of The Wilderness Society, once said, “If we lose wilderness, we lose forever the knowledge of what the world was and what it might, with understanding and loving husbandry, yet become.”

Since 1935, The Wilderness Society has worked to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for wild places. In 1964, The Wilderness Act became law, creating the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Through the wilderness system, Congress sets aside selected areas within national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other federal lands as areas to be kept permanently unchanged by humans. This means no roads, no structures, no vehicles, no significant impacts of any kind. Of our country’s 623 million public acres, 109 million are permanently protected as wilderness. (Check out this list of wilderness areas.)

Because of the requirements set forth in The Wilderness Act, a visitor to a wilderness area can count on peace and quiet. The air and water are clean. Large, unfragmented, and wild landscapes can provide the habitat that species need to adapt to climate change. Places like this are increasingly hard to come by, making the value of wilderness and land preservation more apparent with each passing year.



Want to help The Wilderness Society in its efforts to promote wilderness protection? Become a member by signing up at wilderness.org.

Fran Tracy
11/26/2009 4:32:55 PM

All parks and nature areas should have limited roads so more people can enjoy the areas. When no roads are allowed, it limits the access which makes them useless to most of the people. Fran







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