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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  • Wilderness Act Stars in 'This American Land'

    PBS series spotlights nation’s first protected areas The Wilderness Act, which turns 50 this summer, will be featured in an episode of the television series “This American Land” shown on Public Broadcasting Service stations nationwide. The segment features interviews with wilderness advocates working to permanently protect some of the nation’s finest wild lands, watersheds, and wildlife habitat... Read More

  • Public Lands Remain in Play

    The introduction of the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act in early June kicked off a busy month of federal activity centered around public lands. Read More

  • The Selkirk Mountains

    The Selkirk Mountains are home to the last remaining herds of America’s woodland caribou. And the 90,000-acre Selkirk roadless area makes up the largest wild stretch of any mountain range in the United States. Read More

Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications

202.540.6430