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Spotlight: Wilderness in America

Spotlight: Wilderness in America

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

El Toro Wilderness The El Toro Wilderness in the El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical forest in the Wilderness Preservation System (USFS)
Wilderness is “an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…." Wilderness Act of 1964, author Howard Zahniser

What You’ll Find

Wilderness showcases to the world some of America’s most special places and landscapes—forested mountains, alpine meadows, rock peaks above timberline, tundra, lava beds, deserts, swamps, coastal lands and islands.

Spending time in a Wilderness area transports you to a place and time that resembles nothing in our modern world. Hiking for hours without encountering another person, rafting a section of river seeing only white water and wildlife and setting up camp in a remote clearing with only what you can carry on your back are the ingredients of lifetime memories. It is in these “untrammeled” wild places that we are able to shed reminders of our hectic lives and regain a sense of wonder and connectedness to something much greater than ourselves. Discover a Wilderness area near you.

Join in the Celebration

Community-based events are being held and planned across the country to celebrate this golden anniversary. It is clear that Wilderness inspires in creative and meaningful ways. Activities throughout the year range from art exhibits to musical concerts to snowshoe outings to workshops to hikes and so much more.

Make Sure You

Plan ahead and be prepared! Traveling and camping in Wilderness requires advance planning, appropriate supplies and good maps. Here are some helpful tips by the Klamath National Forest.

Tread Lightly ethics can be practiced during your Wilderness experience. The more you understand about your impact on the land, the more likely you are to Leave No Trace of your visit.

Featured Wilderness

The El Toro Wilderness within the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico is the only tropical forest in the Wilderness Preservation System. The area covers about 10,000 acres and is named after the highest peak, which is a prominent feature on this island. If you visit, you can enjoy swimming, wildlife viewing, bird watching, primitive camping and hiking.

Did You Know?

In September of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law the Wilderness Act. Immediately, 34 areas, covering 9.1 million acres were designated as Wilderness. The Act provided for future designation by Congress and during the next 50 years, a total of 757 Wilderness areas in 44 states across the U.S., including Puerto Rico were included in this preservation system. These areas cover nearly 110 million acres, which is about five percent of the land in the U.S.—half of these acres are located in Alaska.