Today we’re celebrating 50 years of the Wilderness Act signed by President Johnson to define and preserve wilderness areas throughout the United States.
#bornwild: BLM’s National Conservation Lands
Fifty years ago today, the Wilderness Act was signed, making the United States the first country in the world to define and designate wilderness areas through law. Today, the Bureau of Land Management manages wilderness as a part of its mission under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, through our National Conservation Lands.
In 1983, Congress designated the BLM’s first wilderness: the Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in Montana. Since then, Congress has designated 221 BLM Wilderness areas encompassing 8.7 million acres, including the 1994 passage of the California Desert Protection Act which created 69 wilderness areas in California. Another 528 WSAs remain, totaling 12.7 million acres.
The BLM’s management of diverse wilderness includes offshore rocks, deserts, canyons and alpine tundra. And because the BLM manages the most public land of any Federal agency, wilderness designations can be massive. For example, the BLM’s largest wilderness is Nevada’s 315,000-acre Black Rock Desert Wilderness. Along the California coast, the King Range Wilderness has the longest coastal wilderness trail network in the country, more than 100 miles. These lands offer clean water; starry skies; pristine wildlife habitat; and open vistas that the public and BLM employees treasure.
Follow along all month as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act! And check out more beautiful wilderness photos in the #wilderness50 set on our My Public Lands Flickr: http://bit.ly/blmwilderness50