Law & Policy

Shadows cloak the dunes of the Great Sand Dunes Wilderness.
Great Sand Dunes Wilderness.

Photo Credit: NPS/Patrick Myers

The Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System and instructed federal land management agencies, including the National Park Service (NPS), to manage wilderness areas and preserve wilderness character.

To support the mandates of the Wilderness Act, the NPS developed specific policy to address wilderness management and stewardship. NPS Management Policies (2006) and Director's Order 41 (2013), which are updated on a periodic basis, help managers understand why wilderness is important and how they can manage these areas most effectively.

Last updated: May 13, 2020


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