Partner logos: Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service, University of Montana Logo
Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage

State/Tribal Wilderness Toolbox

This toolbox provides information useful for managers of state and tribal wilderness areas and for managers of federal wilderness areas adjacent to or near state and tribal areas. Overviews of state wilderness areas are provided through published articles. Tribal wilderness is examined through papers that describe the role of wilderness in indigenous cultures, tribal wilderness management issues, examples, and contacts plus referenced for additional information. In addition to the resources provided here, you may also be able to obtain advice and recommendations through discussion on Wilderness Connect. Date of last update: 10/18/10.
  1. State Wilderness
    1. Adirondack Park Wilderness
    2. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Wilderness Reference Manual
    3. Articles
      1. Dawson and Thorndike, 2002, State-Designated Wilderness Programs in the United States, International Journal of Wilderness 8 [3]: 21-26
      2. Minnesota Designates Some State Wilderness in BWCAW
        Taken from the Announcement and Wilderness Calendar section of the International Journal of Wilderness 9 [2]: 43-44

        In the spring of 2003, the Minnesota Legislature debated the fate of more than 100,000 acres of state-owned land within the 1.1 million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeastern Minnesota. Some northern Democratic state legislators want to force the U.S. Forest Service to exchange the 93,000 acres of state school trust fund land within the BWCAW for most of the federally-owned lands of Superior National Forest outside the wilderness. One such lawmaker also pushed legislation to auction off some of this school trust land within the BWCAW to the highest bidder. These proposals did not ultimately succeed, but an amendment proposed by a Republican state legislator from the Twin Cities region during the debate did remain in the final law signed by the governor. This amendment designates state acquired lands within the BWCAW as state wilderness, the first time that Minnesota has ever designated state wilderness under the statute adopted in 1975 (also see Dawson and Thorndike, 2002, State-Designated Wilderness Programs in the United States, IJW 8 [3]: 21-26). The new state wilderness lands within the BWCAW include about 18,000 acres of land from the Burntside State Forest in the Little Sious Unit of the BWCAW. The fate of the 93,000 acres of school trust land in the Boundary Waters, however, remains undecided. Source: Kevin Proescholdt (e-mail:
      3. Propst and Dawson, 2008, State-Designated Wilderness in the United States: A National Review, International Journal of Wilderness 14 [1]: 19-24
  2. Tribal Wilderness
    1. Introduction
    2. The Role of Wilderness in Indigenous Cultures
    3. Tribal Wilderness Designation vs. Federal Designation
    4. Tribal Wilderness Management Issues
    5. Management of Tribal Wilderness, Primitive Areas, and Wilderness Lands Re-classified to Tribal Jurisdiction
    6. Tribal Wilderness Management Contacts
    7. References and Resources

      Bureau of Indian Affairs, Establishment of Roadless and Wild Areas on Indian Reservations

      Anderson, M. K. 2006. Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.

      Bacher, D. 2010, March 24. North Coast Tribes Pressure MLPA Officials to Address Tribal Use Policy. North Coast Blog.

      Bowden, C. 2010. Reviving Native Lands. National Geographic Magazine, 218(2): 80-97.

      Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness Case Studies: 1999 and 2005.

      Dawson, C. P. and Hendee, J. C. 2009. Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values, Fourth Edition. Golden CO: Fulcrum Publishing.

      Flood, J. P. and McAvoy, L. H. 2007. Voices of My Ancestors, Their Bones Talk to Me: How to Balance US Forest Service Rules and Regulations with Traditional Values and Culture of American Indians. Human Ecology Review, 14(1): 76-89.

      Freedman, E. 2002. When Indingenous Rights and Wilderness Collide: Prosecution of Native Americans for Using Motors in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. American Indian Quarterly, 26(3): 378-392.

      Forest Service, Tribal Relations Web-page

      Hansen, G. F. 1992. Keepers of the Land-American Indian Traditional Environmental/Wilderness Education Curriculum. Gila River Indian Community.

      Hansen, G. F. 1996. Understanding and Building Partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. Wilderness Management Symposium Proceedings-Waterberg Plateau Park, Namibia/Africa

      Hansen, G. F. 2007. Contemporary Wilderness And American Indian Cultures. International Journal of Wilderness, 13(2): 19-20.

      Lannan Foundation. InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, NE Mendocino County, CA

      Lyons, O. 1989. Wilderness in Native American Culture. A talk by Chief Oren Lyons, Turtle Clan Chief of the Onondaga Nation, presented at the University of Idaho's Wilderness Resource Distinguished Lecture Series.

      Moon Stumpff, L. 2000. In Wilderness There is Life: An American Indian Perspective on Theory and Action for Wildlands. In: Watson, A. E.; Aplet, G. H.; Hendee, J. C., comps. 2000. Personal, societal, and ecological values of wilderness: Sixth World Wilderness Congress proceedings on research, management, and allocation, volume II; 1998 October 24–29; Bangalore, India. Proc. RMRS-P-14. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

      Native American Coordination and Consultation. 1996. Bureau of Land Management National Training Center, Phoenix AZ, Native American Office

      Rosales, H. 2010. The InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness: Ten Tribes Reclaiming, Stewarding, and Restoring Ancestral Lands, International Journal of Wilderness, 16(1), 8-12.

      Stewart, O. C., Lewis, H. T. and Anderson, M. K. 2009. Forgotten Fires: Native Americans and the Transient Wilderness. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

      Testimony of Ron Suppah, Chairman, The Confederated Tribed of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Public Lands and Forests on S. 647, the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act of 2007, May 3, 2007.

      Tribal Wildernesses, Tribal Research Natural Areas, and Tribal Vehicle Permit Areas on National Forests. Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. (715) 682-6619

      Watson, A. Mapping Social and Cultural Values in the Mission Mountains. In: Ritter, S. ed. EcoReport. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Bitterroot Ecosystem Management Research Project. 4, 12.

      Wilderness Management-Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values. 2002. Third Addition.

      Wood, M. C. and Welcker, Z. Tribes as Trustees Again (Part I): The Emergine Tribel Role in the Conservation Trust Movement. Harvard Environmental Law Review, 32:373-432.

      Wood, M. C. and O'Brien, M. Tribes as Trustees Again (Part II): Evaluating Four Models of Tribal Participation in the Conservation Trust Movement. Stanford Environmental Law Journal, 27:477-546.

      Yakama Nation Forest Management Plan-Tract D. Mt. Adams Recreation Area.