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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  • Pew Supports California and Oregon Conservation Bills

    On Oct. 8, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ U.S. public lands project submitted testimony regarding the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act, the California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act, and the Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary Act of 2015 to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining. Read More

  • September Is National Wilderness Month

    Our National Wilderness Preservation System was established 51 years ago by the Wilderness Act and originally included 9 million acres. Today it encompasses more than 109 million acres across the United States. Read More

  • Advocates Look Downhill to Protect Colorado's Wild Lands

    Gunnison County is quintessential Colorado, brimming with snow-capped peaks, spectacular wildflower meadows, rolling sagebrush landscapes, and stunning aspen and pine forests. It is also home to the headwaters of the Colorado River, providing outstanding fishing opportunities. So it’s no surprise that the county attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world for activities such as... Read More

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

San Gabriel Mountains

Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications