The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System and a process for federal agencies to recommend wilderness areas to Congress. There are more than 20 million acres of designated wilderness in the National Wildlife Refuge System – about one-fifth of all the designated wilderness areas in the United States. There are 75 wilderness areas on 63 units of the Refuge System in 26 states. About 90 percent of the Refuge System wilderness is in Alaska.
Wilderness, as defined by the Wilderness Act, is untrammeled (free from man's control), undeveloped, and natural, offering outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation.
Wilderness visitors may hunt, fish, and observe and photograph wildlife, if these activities are compatible with the refuge’s primary mission of wildlife conservation. Many other types of compatible recreational uses, such as cross-country skiing, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking may also be enjoyed in some wilderness areas.
Wilderness Fellowship Program
Wilderness Fellows gain valuable career experience while helping advance stewardship of wilderness resources. Natural processes predominate in wilderness areas, making them an important part of a national strategy for monitoring long-term ecological change.
Fellows spend six months in a wilderness refuge, taking training courses, developing an inventory and monitoring strategy, and producing baseline data about wilderness characteristics.
Meet the 2013 Wilderness Fellows (673 KB pdf)Wilderness Fellows Blog
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