Happy 50th Birthday to the Wilderness Act

From Ansel Adams Wilderness to the Big Maria Wilderness and from John Muir Wilderness to Old Woman Mountains, California is rich with Wilderness areas. We have Death Valley Wilderness, Desolation Wilderness, Dead Mountains and Funeral Mountains; but there’s also Beauty Mountain, Bright Star, Magic Mountain, Pleasant View Ridge, Golden Trout and Resting Spring Range.  In California alone, there are 146 wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System established through the Wilderness Act. 

Signed into law in September 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Wilderness Act was a triumph for all who enjoy the open landscapes of America and the natural heritage they represent. Today, more than 100 million acres are protected by the National Wilderness Preservation System to ensure these areas remain ecologically sound and environmentally pristine for future generations. This year, the Wilderness Act reached its Golden Anniversary

In June 2014, the California Assembly passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution 90, to acknowledge and celebrate the Act’s anniversary and its importance in California. Introduced by Assemblymember Anthony Rendon and actively promoted by Sierra Club California, we urge our members and allies to send letters to Assemblymember Rendon, thanking him for ACR 90. 

The Wilderness Act set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America's support for wilderness, Congress has added over 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines "Wilderness" as areas where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.

The National Wilderness Preservation System was established for the use and enjoyment of the American people and provides many direct and indirect benefits relating to ecological, geological, scientific, educational, scenic, spiritual, economic, recreational, historical, and cultural uses and activities. The 757 wilderness areas within the NWPS are managed by all four federal land managing agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service.

To learn more about the Wilderness Act and the NWPS, visit http://www.wilderness.net, the official wilderness information website providing both general information about wilderness and specific information about each of the 757 wilderness areas.  Here you can find a list of California Wilderness Areas.  You can also find Online Maps.