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

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

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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