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Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage
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Frequently Asked Questions About Wilderness Stewardship

What is wilderness stewardship?

Put yourself in the shoes of a wilderness manager by examining real-life management scenarios.
Simply designating a wilderness does not assure its preservation. An understanding of wilderness values is needed to guide all activities in wilderness, including grazing, access to private lands, mining, fish and wildlife, cultural sites, fire, and insects and disease. Management is needed to minimize the impacts of the wilderness visitor on the immediate environment and the experience of other visitors. Wilderness management applies guidelines derived from social and natural sciences to preserve the qualities for which wilderness was established.

The long-term values of wilderness to our society and the world will be naturalness and wildness, and protection from human influence. A better understanding of these values will help keep human influence to a minimum while still providing opportunities for visitors to enjoy and experience the wilderness.

What types of issues do wilderness managers deal with?

Resource Management

Recreational Use of Wilderness

Prohibitions and Conflicting Use

Planning and Administration

Who manages wilderness?

Four land management agencies, under two departments-the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture-have been given the awesome responsibility of managing the diverse National Wilderness Preservation System. While each agency maintains its own specific management mission, all have been successful in finding ways to mesh their independent missions with wilderness management goals and objectives.

Common to all wilderness-managing agencies is the guidance and direction that is provided by the Wilderness Act. Although other wilderness legislation is followed when applicable, and each agency has its own wilderness policy, the Wilderness Act bonds theses agencies together in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of America's wilderness system.

The congressionally designated wildlands of this country have been entrusted to the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and the National Park Service. All of these agencies strive to meet the challenge of managing the American legacy of wilderness for the use and enjoyment of the people today and in the future.

Bureau of Land Management agency shield image; click for more information Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management manages about 245 million acres, 9,977,849 of which are Wilderness. Among other activities, the Bureau conserves these lands and their historical and cultural resources for the public's use and enjoyment.

Fish and Wildlife Service agency shield image; click for more information Fish and Wildlife Service
The Fish and Wildlife Service conserves the nation's wild animals and their habitats by managing a system of 567 national wildlife refuges and other areas, totaling about 150 million acres of land and water, 20,703,041 of which are Wilderness.

Forest Service agency shield image; click for more information Forest Service
The Forest Service manages national forests and grasslands. It conducts forestry research and works with forest managers on state and private lands. The Forest Service oversees 193 million acres of national forest and other lands, 36,653,771 of which are Wilderness.

National Park Service agency shield image; click for more information National Park Service
The National Park Service was established to protect the nation's natural, historical, and cultural resources and to provide places for recreation. The Park Service manages 401 national parks, national monuments, historic sites, memorials, seashores, and battlefields. It oversees 44,030,560 acres of Wilderness.

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