Working Towards Wilderness Designation

This is a top priority. Broads collaborate with conservation partners to urge Congress to designate new Wilderness areas. We are not afraid to challenge when conservation vision falls short. We also monitor management of areas already designated as Wilderness to ensure these places remain an enduring legacy of wilderness, “untrammeled by man”.


Wild land guardians, too

Broads works with decision makers to ensure wild public lands stay wild while awaiting Wilderness designation or other protective measures.

This includes Wilderness Study Areas and Inventoried Roadless Areas identified as eligible for protection, as well as the millions of acres that citizens have inventoried and identified as having wilderness character that have not yet been endorsed for protection.


Orphan lands

We also work to safeguard wild lands where previous uses have left scars and infrastructure that would preclude qualification for Wilderness designation, but where remarkable scenery, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities should trump further development and destruction.

Great Old Broads for Wilderness advocates for protection of these places and sensible management that protects their wild character and values. Our actions are guided by what is best for the land; what is best for Mother Earth.

Are there wild lands you want to protect near you? Contact your local Broadband or work with the national office to start your own Broadband.

Want to learn more about designated Wilderness areas? For up-to-date maps and statistics on wilderness areas, visit

Be sure to check out our recommended reading list (below) that includes wilderness classics and introductions to “The Broader Wilderness”.

What is Wilderness?

We like to think of Wilderness as our gift to future generations of Americans. It’s one piece of the ecological puzzle to save our country from ever-expanding development. It’s refuge and corridor for wildlife. It’s biological diversity. It’s untamed forest, desert, coast, and mountain. It’s quiet. It’s restorative. It keeps us sane. Here are some interesting facts about Wilderness.

It takes an act of Congress to designate an area as wilderness—and YOUR voice is an important part of protecting our wild places. Here is more information about the wilderness designation process.


A beautiful expression of the ideals of the Wilderness Act

The Wilderness Act of 1964

The Wilderness Act created the National Wilderness Preservation System to preserve and protect public lands that fit the following definition of Wilderness:

… in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, [Wilderness] 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.

An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which

  1. Generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable
  2. Has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation
  3. Has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition
  4. May also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value


Wilderness Protection

Broads’ Position Statement

New wilderness proposals and legislation must be in keeping with the spirit and the intent of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Although authorized under the Wilderness Act, Great Old Broads opposes livestock grazing in designated Wilderness.

Protection of designated Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas should never be reduced as the result of quid pro quo trades resulting in privatization, development, or other activities that degrade public lands. All public lands with Wilderness qualities should gain protection based solely on those qualities.

Wilderness legislation must not compromise or reduce the existing protections for Wilderness Study Areas, Roadless Areas, National Park Units, Wildlife Refuges, and other lands important to cultural heritage, fish and wildlife habitat, air and water quality, and as refuges of peace and quiet.

Proposals and legislation that set bad precedents should be opposed even if they might provide some permanent wilderness designation.

Here’s a PDF of the Wilderness position statement.




Broadtastic Books: Wilderness