Wilderness

Screeshot of Fort Pulaski Wildlife Eligibility Determination from the FOPU GMP and EIS
FOPU Wilderness Eligibility Determination

FOPU GMP and EIS




Eligible Wilderness at Fort Pulaski

Nearly 4,500 acres of pristine salt marsh located in Fort Pulaski National Monument is categorized as eligible wilderness and is managed in accordance with NPS policy as wilderness in order to preserve its wilderness character.

See pages 43-49 of the Fort Pulaski General Management Plan for the park's current Wilderness Study.
 
Aerial image of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse with the island in the background showing Fort Pulaski and the surround forest and salt marshes.
Cockspur Island Lighthouse and Fort Pulaski

FOPU Photo

The Wilderness Act

The Wilderness Act, passed in 1964 and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and instructed federal land management agencies, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service to manage wilderness areas and preserve wilderness character. Each federal agency manages several individual wilderness units that differ in size and geography.




Today, The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) is a network of 765 wilderness areas, protecting over 109 million acres of land and water in the United States. 50 national park units have designated wilderness, totaling more than 44 million acres. Many other national park units, however, have “other categories of wilderness,” or lands not designated, but managed as wilderness per NPS policy. Together with NPS designated wilderness, this means over 80% of all NPS lands are managed as wilderness.
 
Two white shorebirds in the grasses of the salt marsh along the Savannah River, with more marshes and maritime forest in the background on the other side of the river.
Shorebirds in the salt marsh

FOPU Photo

 

Determining Wilderness

 
Landscape view of salt marshes, mudflats, and maritime forest on Cockspur Island, with the Savannah River in the background.
Cockspur Island Landscape

FOPU Photo

Wilderness Study

Wilderness studies ultimately result in a determination of whether any portions of a national park unit should be formally recommended for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System as defined inthe Wilderness Act of 1964. Only Congress can formally designate lands as wilderness.

Under National Park Service management policy, lands are considered eligible for wilderness if:

  • They are at least 5,000 acres or of sufficient size to make practicable their preservation and use in an unimpaired condition
  • They possess wilderness characteristic
 
Sparse palm trees in a scrubland with forest in the background.
Palm trees in a scrubland

FOPU Photo

Wilderness Character

Wilderness character is what is measured and managed for to protect the wild nature of wilderness as well as visitors’ experience in it. It is a holistic concept based on the interaction of:

  • Biophysical environments primarily free from modern human manipulation and impact

  • Personal experiences in natural environments relatively free from the encumbrances and signs of modern society

  • Symbolic meanings of humility, restraint, and interdependence that inspire human connection with nature

Because personal experiences and symbolic meanings are intangible and may differ from person-to-person, the agencies that manage wilderness have defined the 5 tangible qualities of wilderness character:
  • Natural
  • Untrammeled
  • Undeveloped
  • Opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation
  • Other features of value which may not be universal

Last updated: May 11, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 30757
Savannah, GA 31410

Phone:

(912) 786-5787

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