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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In March 2013, President Barack Obama designated the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico, safeguarding 242,555 acres for the enjoyment of future generations. Within the monument’s boundaries are two areas, Cerro del Yuta and Río San Antonio, that together comprise roughly 21,500 acres. Read More
On April 21, Mike Matz, director of Pew’s U.S. public lands program, submitted written testimony to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee regarding five public land measures: S. 1423, S. 1510, S. 1167, S. 1699, and S. 2383. Following is his testimony. Read More
The Cherokee National Forest is East Tennessee’s big backyard, and the Tennessee Wilderness Act would safeguard roughly 20,000 acres of it as wilderness. The state’s U.S. senators, Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, first introduced the bill in 2010, and Representative Phil Roe (R-TN) recently sponsored similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read More
Areas Under Consideration for Protection From Oregon to Tennessee