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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  • Mount Irish Wilderness in Nevada's Basin and Range

    Local conservationists are working with residents, local businesses, community leaders, and elected officials to permanently protect more of the basin and range area to the north of the Mount Irish Wilderness. Read More

  • 5 Big Environmental Wins of 2014

    One of the great challenges of our time is saving the natural environment and the rich array of life it supports on land and in the sea. Every day, Pew is working across the globe to preserve wilderness, restore biodiversity, and increase understanding of ocean ecology. In 2014, we joined our partners in celebrating successes around the world that will help conserve wildlife habitat and... Read More

  • Rolling Up Our Sleeves on Earth Day

    Since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, people have gathered each April 22 to express their concerns about the environment: dirty air, polluted water, despoilment of parks and preserves, and energy sources that harm the climate. True to the times, the first several observances in the United States often resembled political rallies, complete with placards and slogans. Today Earth Day has... Read More

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

San Gabriel Mountains

Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications