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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  • 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

  • Monuments Showcase Nevada’s Natural, Cultural, and Historical Splendor

    Southern Nevada is known as a mecca for those seeking bright lights and big-city entertainment. Nowhere does “big” quite like Las Vegas. But drive an hour or two north, and “big” takes on a completely different meaning. With the designation of two nearby national monuments, the region is increasingly being seen as a top destination for visitors seeking outdoor recreation,... Read More

  • Grand Staircase-Escalante a Recreational and Economic Boon

    North of the Grand Canyon in south-central Utah, a sequence of red, white, and pink cliffs rises above the Kaiparowits Plateau, the most remote place in the contiguous United States. To the east, the plateau drops precipitously along the 50-mile-long Straight Cliffs onto the sagebrush and pinyon-juniper plains of the Escalante River. Narrow slot canyons, including Peek-a-Boo Gulch and Zebra... Read More

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Media Contact

Susan Whitmore

Director, Communications