Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary

Bridger-Teton 50th Logo

Pride in our history: "A vision"


The Wilderness Act was officially signed by congress on September 3rd, 1964. It was the hard work of environmental pioneers like John Muir and Lyndon B. Johnson, that with long talks and brainstorming came up with a plan to preserve these majestic lands for current and future generations to enjoy. Congress has designated nearly 110 million acres of public wildlands as wildernes, which is the highest protection for any public lands. The Wilderness Act was a landmark law and the first in the world to permanently protect public lands as wilderness, calling logging, drilling, road building and most motorized vehicles off-limits in these areas.


The Bridger-Teton National Forest has a very special role to play in this celebration, as this area has a strong history in wilderness stewardship. The Teton and Bridger Wildernesses are not only 2 of the original 1964 wildernesses designated, but the Teton was designated a primitive area as early as 1934, and classified as wilderness 9 years prior to congressional designation.  The Bridger was designated a primitive area by the Forest Service in 1931 and administratively classified 4 years prior to the 1964 congressional designation.  The Gros Ventre was also recognized early on, and was recommended for wilderness shortly before 1964.  It is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, as it was officially designated in 1984.  We have a proud history to honor and take into consideration!

Lyndon B. Johnson Signing Wilderness Act

"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them with a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through it"- President Lyndon B. Johnson upon signing the Wilderness Act


Not only do we three amazing wilderness areas, but, in a way, this area was a home to the wilderness movement.  Jackson was the home of Olaus and Mardy Murie.Their home was host to early Wilderness Society meetings, and many long discussions amongst passionate and dedicated wilderness advocates.  It was a place of inspiration for Howard Zahniser as he worked hard to draft the Wilderness Act (Which are now commemorated by the installation of the Murie Center ). For a while, Olaus was president of The Wilderness Society, and after his death Mardy continued to advocate for wild lands until she had the honor of standing next to President Lyndon B. Johnson as he signed the Wilderness Act itself.  

Our Celebration Goals:

1. Engage the public to better understand and appreciate the many benefits and values of wilderness, ultimately resulting in more people supporting responsible wildlands stewardship;

2. Bring the wilderness community (NGOs/agencies/international advocates) together to efficiently and consistently steward wilderness for the use, enjoyment, and benefit of the American people;

3. Connect with today’s youth and with non-wilderness user groups to find the thread that ties their lives to wild places so they can more directly relate to, understand, and value wilderness.

To honor this anniversary, the US Forest Service has joined in a coalition of organizations to help plan and take part in a national celebration.  The general goal is to raise wilderness awareness and re-connect people today with this amazing resource.  We hope the 50th Anniversary engages people to understand and appreciate the values of wilderness, and we hope to see this opportunity succeed in inspiring youth, promoting stewardship, and fostering a sense of ownership and pride among people throughout the area.

Past Events:

August 2014: Wilderness Explorer Jr. Badge event 

June 2014: Wilderness Rangers of the Bridger-Teton NF participated in a local summer program to get kids outdoors and interested in Wilderness.Gallery of Pictures: Flickr


Get Involved! 

  • Outings- Look for wilderness outings offered by the following groups this summer: Wyoming Wilderness Association, Teton Native Plant Society, Sierra Club, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, WHALES, Teton Photography Group
  • Events-Wilderness Cleanup, Events Bear/Human Safety, Bear Pole Project Wilderness, Trail Project, Work Signing Improvements, Wilderness Education
  • Projects-Parades Library’s, Mountain Story Festival, Pinedale Rendezvous, Wilderness Speaker Series, Wilderness Camp on Town Square, Murie Center, Front Porch Conversations, Voices of the Valley Speaker, Wilderness Art Exhibit State, Wilderness Panel Discussion JH & GY, Visitor Center Wilderness Display, Film Showings, SHIFT Festival ,Jackson Hole Wilderness Rendezvous
  • Partners-  Without them this event would be less fufilling.Thank you!


The Bridger-Teton National Forest is operating in partnership with Grand Teton Association to accept donations in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act Celebration. Funds contributed can be used for 50th project materials in support of celebration events and activities. 

Donations for Wilderness



Wilderness on the Bridger-Teton - Brochure (pdf.)

Brief description for the Wyoming Wilderness Act  of 1984- pdf.




Make sure to visit us again as more details are soon to follow!