America's Wilderness

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Pew's work to protect America's public lands is designed to preserve the most important and unspoiled wild places for future generations to enjoy.

The idea of untouched wilderness is at the core of the American experience. Wild places offer opportunity for recreation and reflection, and represent our legacy to future generations. Only 2.5 percent of our federal public land outside of Alaska is permanently protected as wilderness — free of roads and industrial development and forever available for hiking, hunting, fishing and other pursuits. Many of these places are watersheds needing protection for clean water.  Pristine forests enhance clean air and act as carbon sinks.  Wilderness provides refuge for many threatened and endangered species and serves as valuable storehouses of biodiversity.

Since 2000, The Pew Charitable Trust has focused on achieving lasting protection for threatened wild lands held in public trust by the Federal government. We proactively work to preserve some of the nation's last, best, wild places by adding them to the National Wilderness Preservation System and through other protective designations, such as National Monuments. We provide local public lands protection advocates with expertise in campaign planning and implementation and assist with opinion research, communications and advocacy. The Pew U.S. Public Lands team partners with state coalitions and local citizen groups to support citizen wilderness proposals from every part of the country.

Our Work

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  • 5 Reasons to Protect Steamboat Creek Watershed

    The Steamboat Creek watershed in the Umpqua National Forest lies a little more than 100 miles south of Eugene, Oregon, and provides clean drinking water, critical wildlife habitat, and world-class fisheries. The Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Designation Act would protect roughly 100,000 acres of land and water in the watershed for future generations to enjoy. Here are five reasons to... Read More

  • 5 Reasons to Expand the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Southwest Oregon

    In 2000, President Bill Clinton established the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwestern Oregon, along the California border. It is the only national monument explicitly designated to protect an area of outstanding biological diversity.  In 2011, an independent, interdisciplinary group of scientists evaluated the lands surrounding Cascade-Siskiyou and found that its boundaries... Read More

  • Five Reasons to Protect Bears Ears

    In southern Utah, the Bears Ears area is bordered on the west by the Colorado River, on the south by the San Juan River and the Navajo Nation, and on the east by the White Mesa Ute Reservation. The area, which has been proposed for protection as a national monument, harbors more than 100,000 archaeological sites, including cliff dwellings and rock art, and sustains Native Americans’... Read More

Thank President Obama for Designating Three New National Monuments

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Related Resource

Wilderness and National Monument Legislation in the 114th Congress

Areas Under Consideration for Protection From Oregon to Tennessee

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Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications