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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  • Obama Designates 3 National Monuments in California Desert

    President Barack Obama proclaimed three national monuments in the California desert on Feb. 12, capping nearly a decade of work by local leaders to ensure continued recreational opportunities, benefit to local economies, and conservation of the region's beauty. Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains total nearly 1.8 million acres. Read More

  • California Desert Gems

    Teeming with more than 1,600 species of flowering plants, the California desert "hosts some of the most remarkable biodiversity in the U.S.," says Tim Krantz, professor of environmental studies at the state’s University of Redlands. Read More

  • Pew Applauds Designation of National Monuments in California Desert

    The Pew Charitable Trusts today praised the Obama administration’s designation of three new national monuments in the California desert: Mojave Trails, along historic Route 66 between Needles and Barstow; Sand to Snow, northwest of Palm Springs; and Castle Mountains, on the Nevada border south of Las Vegas. Mojave Trails is the largest land monument designated by President Barack Obama. 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