What is Wilderness?

Wilderness is federal public land, designated by Congress, and protected under the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System to include all federally designated wilderness areas, which today totals nearly 110 million acres inside 662 distinct wildernesses across the United States. Wilderness lands are managed by four federal public land management agencies including the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wilderness has five special characteristics protected under the Wilderness Act: untrammeled, natural, undeveloped, provides opportunities for solitude and primitive and unconfined recreation, and protects other features of value. Wilderness is unique from other protected public land in that it is more wild and untouched by man, often an excellent example of life before modern human development, and lacks many amenities associated with recreation. The Wilderness Act outlines a few prohibitions within wilderness such as no motor vehicles, motorized equipment, permanent roads, or landing of aircraft.

Wilderness is a special place that provides spectacular natural areas for flora and fauna around the country, while also encouraging its human visitors to indulge in independent, self-reliant behavior while they explore bountiful outdoor adventure opportunities leading to personal growth and a sense of connection to the natural environment.

Shining Rock Wilderness