Wilderness Act of 1964

The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System and authorizes Congress to designate wilderness areas. Here, in the Wilderness Act, is a definition of wilderness: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as 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 to mean in this Act 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 …” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service cooperatively manage more than 800 wilderness areas. The National Wildlife Refuge System includes 75 wilderness areas on 63 national wildlife refuges in 26 states (as of March 2021).

16 USC 1131-1136
Related Programs
A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.