The Wilderness Act of 1964

Greg Burke   Website

ONDA campaigns to see qualified desert lands protected as wilderness so that future generations of Americans can experience the same landscapes we have the opportunity to explore and enjoy today.

voices

Elisa Cheng, member since 2013

Elisa Cheng, member since 2013

“ONDA stewardship trips inspire me. I get to learn new things and see new places, and in the process perform important work that improves the wildlife habitat.”

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The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

success

Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Steens Mountain: Oregon’s first desert wilderness

On October 30, 2000, Congress passed the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act, finishing the work that had taken ONDA and the other members of the Steens-Alvord Coalition decades  

Steens Mountain is a land of startling contrasts: dramatic u-shaped

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The Wilderness Act of 1964

With the 1964 passage of the Wilderness Act, Congress gave the American people a powerful tool to ensure that the most special places within our public lands system would remain in their undeveloped, natural condition for future generations to experience.

The purpose of the Wilderness Act is stated in its very first line: “To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people.”  

According to the Wilderness Act, wilderness is:

“…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man,
where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

An area of wilderness is further defined as “an area of undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions .”

Wilderness must have the following characteristics:
  • generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable
  • has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation
  • has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition
  • may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

Download the full text of the Wilderness Act.