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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  • Spotlight on National Wilderness Conference

    Wilderness advocates, stewards, and academics, mark your calendars for the National Wilderness Conference, Oct. 15 to 19, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While we count down the days until Sept. 3 and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act (visit Facebook for our countdown posts), people from across the country are finalizing their travel plans to go to the five-day conference. Read More

  • 12 Places Congress Should Protect Now

    Fifty years after the passage of the Wilderness Act, the law remains the nation’s most effective tool for protecting wild places. The two dozen bills now before Congress would together add more than 2.6 million acres of wild land to the National Wilderness Preservation System established by the act. Read More

Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications

202.540.6430