America's Wilderness

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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  • Protections Needed for Spectacular Wilderness in Washington State

    Less than an hour east of downtown Seattle lie the beautiful Alpine Lakes Wilderness and the valleys of the Pratt River and the Middle and South forks of the Snoqualmie River. Read More

  • Action in August on Land Protection

    Before lawmakers left town in August, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced legislation to safeguard more than 58,000 acres of wilderness and create other protective designations. The Rocky Mountain Recreation and Wilderness Preservation Act (H.R. 5311) would protect mid-elevation forests, alpine lakes, and rivers in Colorado’s Eagle and Summit counties, places that are known for their... Read More

  • America's Common Ground

    In the five decades since, nearly 100 million acres encompassed in some 760 areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System, thanks in part to the efforts of The Pew Charitable Trusts and other organizations that work to raise public awareness and the resources necessary to set aside tracts of wilderness. Read More

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Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications