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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  • California Monuments Showcase Diversity of Natural Heritage

    California’s national monuments are a living museum that showcases the fascinating natural and human history of the region, and they serve as a vibrant laboratory for scientific and academic research. From the Native American rock art of the San Gabriel Mountains to the rare redband trout found in the streams of the Cascade-Siskiyou region, the state’s monuments have drawn scientists... Read More

  • New Mexico’s National Monuments Fuel Regional Economy

    At first glance, northern and southern New Mexico are as different as night and day. In the south, rugged desert, archaeological wonders, and toothy peaks make up the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Up north, just outside the town of Taos, the Río Grande del Norte National Monument features winding canyons, wildflower fields, and flowing rivers. Read More

  • National Monuments Boost Businesses and Communities

    Advocates led by small-business owners seeking to preserve an economic juggernaut brought the fight to save America’s national monuments to the front lines June 7. Some three dozen people from 15 states traveled to Washington to tell their elected representatives that the country’s monuments do much more than provide space for those seeking outdoor recreation and solitude: They also... Read More

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Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications