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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  • Pew Commends Launch of the Eastern Utah Public Lands Initiative

    The Pew Charitable Trusts joined Representative Rob Bishop, Governor Gary Herbert, and other officials today for the announcement of the eastern Utah public lands initiative to address long-standing land management issues in seven Utah counties.  Read More

  • Montana Forest Treasures

    There is a reason that Montana is known as “Big Sky” country. At a sprawling 150,000 square miles, the state boasts expansive mountain ranges, forests, and wildlife populations. The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (S. 37), introduced by Senator Jon Tester, would protect nearly 700,000 acres of Montana’s land in the western part of the state as wilderness. Read More

  • A Wild Week Celebrating Wilderness

    More than 150 lands-protection advocates from 20 states traveled to the nation’s capital in early September for Wilderness Week. The annual event is typically equal parts education, advocacy, and celebration. This year was special because the occasion coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act—the landmark legislation that gave Americans a voice in safeguarding the wild... Read More

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San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

San Gabriel Mountains

Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications