Why Wilderness

(Henry David Thoreau)

Wilderness was established for the use and enjoyment of the American people today and forever. The value of wilderness depends on the degree to which it remains undeveloped, a contrast to the highly developed world in which most of us live.

Benefits of Wilderness:

Wilderness areas contribute significantly to our nation’s health and well-being. The benefits of these areas provide are as diverse as the areas themselves and far exceed the mere acreage protected.
Yet protection does not ensure sanctuary from events that threaten wilderness character. The federal managing agencies, together with American citizens, must rise to the challenge of protecting these benefits and preserving our wilderness legacy.

Water and Air: Americans value wilderness most because these areas are sources of clean water and air. While the benefits transcend boundaries, they are threatened by forces outside the wilderness. Preserving wilderness preserves clean water and air.

Wildlife: Americans value the wildlife that is protected by wilderness, from grizzly bears to wildflowers. Wilderness protects natural processes which give rise to rich biodiversity. Preserving wilderness preserves wildlife.

Recreation: Wilderness was created for the enjoyment of the American people. Wilderness is a haven for self-discovery and rejuvenation. Preserving the integrity of wilderness ensures its unique recreation value.

Economics: Wilderness areas have a positive impact on local and regional economies and support many high value jobs. Diminishing wilderness character threatens the far reaching economic benefits of wilderness. Preserving wilderness helps to preserve a healthy economy.

Legacy: Americans from all walks of life value the wilderness legacy. This legacy is passed on from generation to generation by many who will never visit the wilderness, yet value its undisturbed quality. Preserving wilderness character preserves our wilderness legacy.