Wilderness Evaluation


Logo depicting 50 years of Wilderness 1964 to 2014Wilderness Background

     The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”  The Act’s purpose is to preserve natural ecosystems and wild areas, and also provide opportunities for solitude and retrospective or primitive recreation.  Wilderness areas are also valuable for: historical, scientific, educational, geological and ecological benefits – as well as helping the environment and local economy.

     There are 765 Wilderness areas, covering more than 109 million acres, which are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  The system is managed by the Forest Service and other Federal land management agencies.  As part of this system, the Ashley National Forest has 274,215 acres located within the High Uintas Wilderness.

     Under the Wilderness Protection Act and the Forest Service 2012 Planning Rule, any National Forest undergoing a plan revision must review lands that may be suitable for a Wilderness designation and analyze the impacts from the recommendation of such lands.  

Photo depicting a high mountain basin with a lake in the High Uintas Wildrness in Winter
Photo: High mountain basin within the High Uintas Wilderness Area

Wilderness Evaluation on the Ashley National Forest

There are four steps in the process. The Ashley National Forest is currently in the EvaluaScreen shot of the wilderness evaluation web application with text saying evaluation steps coming sotion "Step 2".

  1. Inventory - The first step in looking at lands that could potentially be designated Wilderness
  2. Evaluation - Are these lands suitable to be called Wilderness? Do the lands have Wilderness characteristics?
  3. Analysis - What is the best way to manage the lands? Analysis is looking at different alternatives in managing the lands.
  4. Recommendation - Analysis of the different alternatives makes up the recommendation

Additional information regarding the Potential Wilderness Evaluation process can be found on the Ashley National Forest Wilderness Evaluation web application.


Wilderness Evaluation Process Booklet

2019 Draft Wilderness Evaluation Report

Key Contacts

Cathleen Neelan, Forest Plan Revision Team Leader
Lars Christensen, Collaboration Specialist