Project

U.S. Public Lands and Rivers Conservation

Protecting Wild Landscapes Sustains Natural Resources and Communities

Biological diversity, healthy ecosystems, and strong economies depend on the strategic conservation of large, intact landscapes that support wildlife habitat, clean water, carbon sequestration, and recreational opportunities. For instance, hunting, fishing, camping, cycling, boating, and other outdoor recreation account for $788 billion in gross economic output and generate 5.2 million jobs nationwide annually. 

Yet more than 300 million of the 430 million acres of lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, or 70% of existing federal public lands, remain open to development.

For more information on Pew’s work with partners to conserve important wild landscapes, see the resources below.

Unalakleet River
Unalakleet River
Article

Biden Has Opportunity to Protect Remarkable Public Lands

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Article

The Trump administration implemented policy changes on many lesser-known public spaces overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Sunray
Sunray

Biden's Chance to Work With Tribes on Alaska Public Lands

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Since 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service have advanced five land management plans that would eliminate protections for the roughly 60 million acres of federally managed lands—the most of any state—in Alaska. If enacted, the Alaska plans would open vast stretches of the Bering Sea-Western Interior, Tongass National Forest, Central Yukon, National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and other pristine landscapes to extractive development with significant potential repercussions for lands, rivers, wildlife in Alaska, and the Indigenous peoples whose lives and culture are intrinsically connected to these places.

OUR WORK

Autumn colors reflect off Sherando Lake in the George Washington National Forest
Autumn colors reflect off Sherando Lake in the George Washington National Forest
Article

Forest Service Should Update Old Management Plans

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Article

The 193 million acres of public lands that make up the National Forest System (NFS) provide critical fish and wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, and many other values. But the U.S. Forest Service still manages many units in the NFS using outdated science and antiquated practices, an approach that could have negative consequences for these ecosystems—and the people and wildlife that depend on them—far into the future.

Rogue River, Oregon
Rogue River, Oregon
Speeches & Testimony

Pew Recommends Passage of Lands and Rivers Protections

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Speeches & Testimony

The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted written responses to two hearings of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, held June 16 and June 23, on 10 public land and river conservation bills.