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Wilderness Watch - Our history



AlaskaFounded in 1989, Wilderness Watch is the only national organization whose sole focus is the preservation and proper stewardship of lands and rivers included in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and National Wild & Scenic Rivers System (NWSRS). The organization grew out of the concern that while much emphasis is being placed on adding new areas to these systems, the conditions of existing Wilderness and rivers are largely being ignored. We believe that the stewardship of these remarkable wild places must be assured through independent citizen oversight, education, and the continual monitoring of federal management activities.

Scientific research reveals evidence of escalating damage throughout the Wilderness System - a trend we cannot allow to continue. Congress established the NWPS in 1964 "to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States…” Unfortunately, simply designating a Wilderness or Wild and Scenic River does not guarantee its protection.

Instead, the long-term preservation of Wilderness depends on the commitment of informed citizens to preserve each area’s wilderness character. Wilderness Watch is committed to citizen oversight, public education and when necessary, legal and legislative action, to protect America’s finest environmental legacy for present and future generations. 

Read a message from our founders.

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