Wilderness Data Search
By default, this search will select all wilderness areas that have acreage in the state or geographic region you select and are managed by any of the agencies you select. To view wildernesses managed by more than one agency, check the checkbox under the agency selection boxes. If, however, you select an agency-specific region, you will view only wildernesses managed by that agency which have acreage in the region regardless of any agency selections you make. If your selections result in a single wilderness area, you will visit the wilderness page for that area directly.
1 Pacific Northwest: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington; Rocky Mountains: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming; Southwest: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah; Midwest: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin; South: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas; Northeast: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia; West Coast States: California, Oregon, Washington; East Coast States: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia; Gulf Coast States: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas.
2 >= is greater than or equal to. <= is less than or equal to. Total acreage is the current acreage of the entire wilderness. This measurement will include all acres of a wilderness, regardless of any state, agency, region or year selections you make. Unit acreage is wilderness acreage existing in a single state managed by a single agency. Unit acreage should not be confused with administrative unit acreage, a further breakdown of acreage that differs by agency. Since almost 25% of wilderness areas have acreage designated under multiple laws, search the wilderness law library by wilderness, year or public law for a breakdown of how a wilderness area has grown over time.
3 Designation indicates the year that a wilderness was designated by Congress. For multi-managed wilderness areas, this represents the year in which each agency started managing the area, and may be different depending on the agency. For example, the Domeland Wilderness was originally designated in 1964, but at that time was managed only by the Forest Service. The Bureau of Land Management did not begin managing the area until its acreage was added in 1994. Similarly, for wilderness areas with acreage in more than one state, this represents the year the acreage was first designated in that state. For example, while the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness was originally designated in 1978 in Montana, its Wyoming portion did not come into existence until 1984.
Exploring Wilderness Data: The Federal laws that established individual wilderness unit, beginning with the Wilderness Act of 1964 and including all subsequent wilderness legislation, are the legally correct source for the wilderness names, locations, original acreage, and dates of designation. Wilderness.net's National Wilderness Preservation System database, searchable using the form above, began with the following publication, which compiled the legislated acres for all designated wilderness areas: Landres, Peter; Meyer, Shannon. 2000. National Wilderness Preservation System database: key attributes and trends, 1964 through 1999. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-18-Revised Edition. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 97 p. Download this publication. Current reported acreage figures are the sum of administrative unit acreages reported by each wilderness' managing agency or agencies. Data last updated on 2/2/15 (recent estimates of the Mollie Beattie Wilderness show it to be 7.16 million acres instead of the legislated 8 million).