In August 2023, President Biden issued a proclamation declaring September as National Wilderness Month. Wilderness Areas represent some of America's most precious natural resources, and Americans have done a great job in protecting these lands for future generations. The proclamation celebrates the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964 (60 years ago next year!) which created the National Wilderness Preservation System. Today this system protects nearly over 760 Wilderness Areas totaling over 110 million acres of federal public lands.
Nevada alone now has almost 3.6 million acres of wilderness. From alpine peaks and juniper forests to desert sage and rocky canyons, these public lands protect wildlife habitat, capture carbon, and support many types of outdoor recreation. They also hold important cultural value for Tribal nations and communities. What we protect now will benefit future generations for a long, long time.
No need to wait to experience the benefits of Nevada’s wild places, though. In his proclamation, President Biden encouraged all Americans to take action. This includes experiencing our nation’s outdoor heritage, recreating responsibly, and most importantly leaving no trace. We have a great library of not just current Wilderness Areas but areas that deserve that designation but haven’t received it yet. Not all of these areas are remote, some are less than an hour’s drive from where most Nevadans live. Set a date to get away for a day or two, search out the peace of an untrammeled land with few signs, where it's so quiet you can hear your own heartbeat, and with too many stars in the sky at night to count. Remember to bring proper gear, stay hydrated, and stay safe!
You're encouraged to celebrate the value of preserving an enduring Wilderness. You certainly don't have to experience Wilderness directly to benefit from it. From public land conservation much of the water we drink stays clean. People are moved to express their outdoor experiences in art you can hang on your wall. And a species loved so much we made it Nevada's state animal, the desert bighorn sheep, continue to thrive because their habitat is preserved. This just scratches the surface of Wilderness’ downstream effects. Even if you aren’t outdoors inclined, isn’t it amazing that a lot of aspects of our lives start out there?
You are asked to strengthen your commitment to protecting these vital lands and waters now and for future generations. We're more than happy to assist you with this one! If you’re not already subscribed to our community newsletter it is a great way to stay connected for opportunities to learn about the outdoors, volunteer for a trail crew, or add your voice to the chorus of Americans eager to protect and care for Wild Nevada.
That’s how public lands are protected as Wilderness. It starts with your action, your voice. It starts with you.
Happy Wilderness Month!