50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

This year is the golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act, signed on Sept. 3, 1964, by President Lyndon Johnson. The act established the country’s National Wilderness Preservation System. So, on Sept. 3, 2014, lovers of wildlands will celebrate the landmark event that made history.

Wilderness50 is a celebration of the signing of the Wilderness Act of 1964

“This anniversary year provides a wonderful opportunity for us to re-affirm our commitment to wilderness stewardship and to engage the public, particularly youth, in opportunities for a better understanding and appreciation of wilderness benefits — clean air and water, natural settings, critical plant and wildlife habitat, solitude, recreation, spiritual renewal, and economic benefits,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

So far, 50th Wilderness Anniversary plans include many diverse projects, including a snowshoe hike to Lee Metcalf Wilderness (March 15), the Lolo Pass Marathon (June 28), and several fair exhibits and displays throughout the region.

“We want Wilderness to be remembered, cherished and preserved so they leave a lasting legacy,” said Elwood York, Forest Service Wilderness Program manager. “With this celebration, we want to honor the past, discern the present and look to preserve what we have for the future generations to follow.”

Events and Celebrations You Can Participate In

Location Date Event
Bitterroot NF
Bitterroot Valley
May - Sept. Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Jr. Wilderness Ranger Program
Bob Marshall Wilderness Summer - December “50 Miles for 50 Years;” Trail projects with campfire talks
Kalispell, MT
Hockaday Museum
7/24 - 9/13 “Visions of the Wild” art exhibit
Cottonwood, ID
County Fairgrounds
8/20 - 8/24 Idaho County Fair 50th Celebration Exhibit
Lilbby, MT 8/23 “Wiley and Wild West” Music event with Friends of Scotchman Peaks
Missoula, MT
Caras Park
8/28 Downtown Nights
Mayor's Proclamation
Lincoln, MT 8/30 Wilderness Run
Livingston, MT 9/05 Race Around the A-B 2014 fall fun run series, Night Owl Run
Seeley Lake, MT 9/5 - 9/7 Wild 50th Festival - MWA State Convention/Community & Partner Celebration
Missoula, MT
University of Montana
9/10 - 9/12 University Celebration
Moscow, ID
County Fairgrounds
9/11 - 9/14 Latah County Fair 50th Exhibit
Highway 12 East Kooskia, MT
9/12 - 9/14 Public & Partner Campout & Celebration
Nez Perce-Clearwater NFs
Wilderness Gateway CG
9/12 - 9/14 Wilderness celebration with public camping and campfire discussions.
Fort Peck, MT 9/13 Untrammeled and an evening of music
Butte, MT 9/16 - 9/19 Montana Parks, Recreation and Trails Symposium
Lewiston, ID
County Fairgrounds
9/18 - 9/21 Nez Perce County Fair
Helena, MT
State Capitol
9/19 50th Wilderness Celebration
Gardiner, MT 9/20 Race Around the A-B 2014 fall fun run series, Big Bear Stampede 6k, 8k
Missoula, MT
Silver Park
9/20 Community Social & Picnic
Kalispell, MT
Flathead County Fairgrounds
9/20 Community & Partner Celebration
Red Lodge, MT 9/21 Race Around the A-B 2014 fall fun run series, Nitty Gritty half/full marathon
Nez Perce, ID
County Fairgrounds
9/25 - 9/28 Lewis County Fair
Missoula, MT 9/27 U of M Homecoming Parade
Absarokee, MT 10/04 Race Around the A-B 2014 fall fun run series, Stillwater Fun Run 5k, 10k
Mcleod, MT 10/11 Race Around the A-B 2014 fall fun run series, Raw Deal Run 3mi, 6mi


Speeches, News Releases, and Blogs

Speech: Protecting America’s Wilderness Heritage. Chief Tom Tidwell, U.S. Forest Service, at the Univeristy of Montana, March 4, 2014.

Blog: Meeting the Next Generation Who will Carry the Torch as Wilderness, Natural Resource Stewards. Arthur "Butch" Blazer, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture, May 19, 2014.

More Information

To find out about other Wilderness 50th Anniversary events and celebrations in other parts of the country, visit:

Wilderness50th.org - Wilderness events, conferences, projects and more.

Wilderness.net - Wilderness information website