US Forest Service Celebrates 50 Years of the Wilderness Act

Yours To Enjoy and Protect: 


The Promise of Wilderness:

On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act

This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people.

In Wilderness natural processes are the primary influences and human activities are limited. Here we experience wild places without disturbing or destroying the action of these natural processes.

Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America's support for wilderness, Congress has added over 100 million acres to this critical land preservation system.

Photograph taken in 1923 showing John W. Spencer with his camera near Diamond Lake Photograph taken in 2013 showing photographer Dave Stotzel and his camera near Diamond lake

These identical photos were taken near Diamond Lake in Cloud Peak Wilderness (Bighorn NF). One was taken in 1923 and the other in 2013. Long recognized as having some of the most majestic alpine scenery in America, this region was managed as the Cloud Peak Primitive Area since 1932.

 Maps are available

Forest Service Topo Forest Service Topography Maps: These maps overlay Forest Service assets, such as roads, trails, and campgrounds, on USGS's topographic maps. They are available for download by quadrangle.

National Forest Store:  Offers a full, nationwide selection of Maps for purchase online or by phone, fax, and mail.

Visitor Maps are available directly from national forest offices.