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.
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Chattanooga, Tennessee business owner Dawson Wheeler explains that the Cherokee National Forest’s recreation opportunities drive economic development in local communities. Read More
Fifty years after the passage of the Wilderness Act, this landmark law remains the nation's most effective tool for protecting wild places. Congress has a chance to protect a few additional areas across the nation before it adjourns for the year. A number of wilderness measures have been reported out of committees and await action on the floor. Read More