Wildlands protections

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Conserving wildlands for future generations

Americans have inherited an incredible variety of public lands that range from our beloved national parks and forests to the iconic western lands managed by Bureau of Land Management. Among those lands are areas of untouched wilderness, outdoor recreation havens and fragile ruins that trace the history of people who lived here long before us. It is our job to keep these shared places healthy and intact for future generations, and that means guiding development and destructive activities like drilling, mining and logging elsewhere.

By giving these lands special status under designations like “wilderness area” or “national monument,” we can keep them whole and undamaged while still ensuring access for recreation, scientific research and education.

To gain those protections, we work with officials at the local, state and national level. Our designation campaigns offer lasting protections to fragile ecosystems, unique geological wonders and irreplaceable cultural sites.

Why this issue matters

The wildlands we cherish are finite and fragile. Left unchecked, development will damage and consume them. Only by advocating for protections will we be able preserve our natural heritage for future generations.

10% of the earth’s wilderness
has disappeared in the past 2+ decades.
Only 2.7 percent
of the continental U.S. is protected as designated wilderness.
760+ wilderness areas and 125+ national monuments
have been protected through citizens working together. Let's keep going!

What we're doing

  1. Earning protections in Congress

    We work on campaigns that create new wilderness designations through acts of Congress, adding ever more acreage to America’s National Wilderness Preservation System. These designations give certain precious wildlands the nation’s highest level of protections from reckless activities like mining, logging and unchecked off-road vehicle use.

  2. Identifying places worthy of wilderness designations

    We help federal agencies identify special, untouched wildlands that are worthy of protection as designated wilderness in the future. This ensures these lands are taken care of by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or other agencies while we work with Congress to protect them fully.

  3. Designating national monuments

    We work with citizens, businesses and lawmakers to identify and protect areas worthy of national monument status. We have helped protect places like Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in California.

  4. Defending existing protections

    We work to ensure the proactive land protections of the past remain in place, defending current national monuments, wilderness areas and other public lands from any attempts to open them to development.

What you can do

Join our WildAlert list for opportunities to tell elected officials that our wildlands deserve protection.