The Wilderness Act of 1964

Greg Burke   Website

Thanks to the Wilderness Act of 1964, future generations of Americans can experience the same landscapes that we have the opportunity to explore and enjoy today. ONDA campaigns to see qualified desert lands protected as wilderness.

voices

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

“I connect with Oregon’s high desert through my feet, my eyes, my sense of smell, and all the things I hear. Getting out there is a whole body experience.” Supporting ONDA, Helen says, not only connects her with wild landscapes, but is also a good investment. “I felt like if I gave them $20, they might squeeze $23 out of it.”

voices

Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

“Protecting public land is part of my spiritual being. It’s central to my identity to be in wilderness and to see it protected.” Durlin is proud to protect public lands for future generations, saying, “The highlight of my childhood was our family’s weekend outdoor trips. I look forward to my grandchildren having similar experiences outside in their lifetimes, and it wouldn’t be possible without ONDA.”

watch

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

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.
Read the full text of the Wilderness Act.