Celebrate 50 Years of American Wilderness

The high dunes of the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness stretch along Fire Island's ocean shoreline.

The Wilderness Act of 1964
Fifty years ago something happened in the United States that had not yet happened anywhere else in the world: wilderness areas were formally designated and protected by federal law. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, legislation that provides the highest level of protection for some of our most iconic, wild landscapes.

Since the landmark legislation was passed in 1964, more than 109 million acres of wilderness have been added to the National Wilderness Preservation System.These wild, undeveloped lands include majestic peaks, dramatic desertscapes, lush meadows, and dynamic shorelines, each with unique educational and recreational opportunities.

Learn more about the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Wilderness is Closer Thank You Think

Many of us conjure images of far off wilderness but enjoying these special places doesn't have to mean a long road trip (unless you want to!). Fire Island National Seashore's wilderness is just a two-hour drive from New York City. The relatively unspoiled dunes, swale, and salt marsh of this wilderness stand in contrast to neighboring developed barrier islands and mainland Long Island. Though it is one of the smallest wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation system, Fire Island's wilderness supports a vast array of marine and terrestrial plants and animals. Nature lovers, outdoors enthusiasts, and students from near and far come to this wilderness for a glimpse of the world as Nature intended in an otherwise suburban landscape.

Last updated: October 1, 2014

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