"In wildness is the preservation of the world," said Henry David Thoreau. Yet relatively little of the world is designated as wildness--at least here in the United States.
Since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964, nearly 110 million acres of the United States have been designated as wilderness in 757 distinct tracts, from the six-acre Pelican Island Wilderness in Florida to the more than 9 million acres of the Wrangell-St. Elias Wilderness in Alaska. These protected lands represent about 5 percent of the country in 44 states (every state except Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, and Rhode Island, with more than half of all designated wilderness land in Alaska). Although several federal agencies manage designated areas, the National Park Service manages most of the wilderness in the United States.
The Park Service just produced this beautiful short video celebrating the Wilderness Act and the lands it protects. For those who appreciate the peace of wild things, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend a few minutes viewing some of the most pristine and beautiful places in America without leaving any footprints. For more information on U.S. wilderness and tips for preserving it, see www.nps.gov/subjects/wilderness/.
About the author
Jennifer Errick Managing Editor of Online Communications
Jennifer co-produces NPCA's podcast, The Secret Lives of Parks, and writes, edits and moderates online content.