Happy 51st Anniversary, Wilderness Act!

September 3, 2015Blair GuildNPF Blog

"A 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."

So boldly declared Congress in 1964, when it voted nearly unanimously to protect some of our nation’s most treasured areas. September 3 marks the 51st anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which established the National Wilderness Preservation System and protected 9 million acres of pristine land.

Today, that number has grown to protect nearly 110 million acres, from Alaska to Florida. The act was our nation’s revolutionary commitment to understanding that our natural resources are limited and that it is our duty to preserve, unimpaired, these spaces.

Over half of the National Park Service’s lands are protected by the Wilderness Act — preserving these awe-inspiring landscapes for future generations. Check out some of these wild national parks:

  • For a classic wilderness spot, explore Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota). National parks hero Theodore Roosevelt used to ranch cattle on this land in the 1880s. Now its geological wonders, grassy prairies, and abundant wildlife are preserved along with Roosevelt’s legacy.

 Rock formations on land of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Just beyond the hustle and bustle of New York City are the calming wilderness waves of Fire Island National Seashore (New York). Rolling sand dunes, grassy wetlands, and tall pine forests characterize the wilderness of this beachy landscape.  

Seagull perching at Fire Island seashore
  • Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (Hawai’i) has some of the most unique geological features. The land is sculpted by active volcanoes, miles of ocean coastline, and the `Ola`a Forest. Those who explore the wilderness of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park can see fields of lava and erupting vents.

Flowering tree among volcanic rocks
  • To discover volcanoes that are no longer active, explore the celestial landscape of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (Idaho). The now-dormant volcanoes of this site spewed lava and shaped the land thousands of years ago. Visitors today can see cinder cones, spatter cones, lava tubes, hidden ice caves, and the plants and animals that adapted to the barren landscape.

Vegetations on volcanic rocks

What wilderness have you discovered? Get out there, explore, and share your pics on our Facebook page! You can also tag us (@GoParks) on TwitterInstagram, and Tumblr, and use the hashtags #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque! 


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