What is Wilderness?

A Wilderness Area is designated by an act of Congress, with a formal definition established by the Wilderness Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3, 1964:

A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain....[L]and retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions

Beyond its formal definition, for many people, designated Wilderness holds a special place in the heart and mind. Click the links on the left to learn the many ways that Wilderness benefits the individual as well as our society, at large. Find the many uses of Wilderness — uses that span from personal solitude to social benefits like clean air and water, healthy wildlife populations and a protected cultural legacy.

Check out this great Wilderness video from the National Park Service.


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