Thursday (Sept. 3) marks the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the groundbreaking legislation that preserves swaths of forest for future generations. The act was signed into law in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, immediately protecting public land in Montana, Minnesota, California, and New Hampshire. Forty-five years later, the National Wilderness Preservation System includes 109 million acres across the U.S. It is still the most powerful legislative tool for preserving public land. Congress is currently debating bills that would add land to the Wilderness system in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. One of President Obama’s first acts as president was to sign into law a massive public lands bill that established Wilderness in Virginia and West Virginia.
To find out more about Wilderness in the Southeast, go here.