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.
See a visual roundup of this year’s top conservation goals.
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On January 12, 2017, President Barack Obama expanded two national monuments in California and Oregon -- the California Coastal and Cascade-Siskiyou national monuments. Efforts to preserve lands and waters surrounding these two areas have been ongoing for years. The expansions were announced along with three Civil War, Reconstruction, and Civil Rights-era designations. Read More
Covering almost 350,000 acres in southeastern Nevada, Gold Butte was formed by the same geologic forces that created Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Native American petroglyphs and shelters dating back more than 12,000 years are found throughout the area. Read More
In southern Utah, the Bears Ears area is bordered on the west by the Colorado River, on the south by the San Juan River and the Navajo Nation, and on the east by the White Mesa Ute Reservation. The area harbors more than 100,000 archaeological sites, including cliff dwellings and rock art, and sustains a traditional Native American way of life. Read More
Areas Under Consideration for Protection From Oregon to Tennessee