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  What is Wilderness?

"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 . . . "
--Wilderness Act of 1964


Leave No Trace

Backcountry & Wilderness Areas are places to seek solitude. However, they are receiving an alarming amount of use and abuse.

LEAVE NO TRACE practices are techniques that visitors can use to help reduce evidence of their presence.

Please check with the "information contact" for the OR or WA area you plan to visit for the latest management issues and/or protection measures that are in place.


Wilderness Act, September 3, 1964
President Lyndon Johnson created the National Wilderness Preservation System. This system protects millions of acres of pristine wild lands from any form of human development.

Alpine Lakes Area Management Act, 1976
This Act set aside approximately 393,460 acres as Wilderness and 547,166 acres surrounding this Wilderness as a "management unit". This was significant because never had a Wilderness been created with a designated "management unit" around it.

Wilderness Bills, 1984
Congress passed 18 bills covering 12 Eastern and 6 Western States. More than 1,857,000 acres of Wilderness was added in Oregon and Washington.

Presently over 100 million acres in the U.S. has been set aside under the National Wilderness Preservation System. We can all celebrate the foresight of those who worked to create this unique and precious system of wild lands and also reflect on the future stewardship necessary to ensure its continued preservation.



"In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no land designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be in the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. . ."

The Wilderness Act mandates that wilderness areas be ". . . . administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such a manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness."

Wilderness stewardship does not attempt to mold nature to suit people, but to manage human use and influences so as not to alter natural processes. The toughest challenge will be to keep wilderness ". . . . affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man substantially unnoticeable. . . . ". The overall goal being to protect an enduring resource for future generations.



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