Visiting wilderness

To some people wilderness can be a forested backyard or a park down the street. The United States Congress, through the Wilderness Act, defined wilderness and designated specific areas across the United States to be protected as wilderness. The Wilderness Act established a National Wilderness Preservation System. Through several decades of legislative action, this system of wilderness areas has grown to more than 105 million acres within four federal bureaus: National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service. The wilderness areas remain a part of a park, refuge, or forest; yet, they are distinguished by their congressional designation as wilderness, and they are managed according to wilderness legislation.

To set foot in wilderness, one should be prepared for a wilderness experience. Knowledge of the area and possible risks leads to a safer experience that also protects wilderness resources. To find out more about how to safely and responsibly explore wilderness, check out HOW.

Wilderness areas have been designated on federal public land in almost every state in the country. More than half of National Park Service land is designated wilderness, the majority of which is in Alaska. Visit WHERE to locate wilderness areas near you and to find out more about specific wilderness areas.

For information about specific wilderness areas contact the managing agency directly or explore wilderness data on Plan ahead and prepare for every visit to wilderness.