This chapter describes the lands that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). The first section includes statistics on trends in designations since the creation of the NWPS and describes the current size of the System in total land area and number of areas across the country. Also included are descriptions of the prevalence of NWPS lands by states and regions of the country and for each of the four federal land management agencies responsible for their management. The second section describes the human context of Wildemess lands; that is, their location relative to human population centers, other land uses, and roads. A third section summarizes three key natural features of Wilderness-elevation, precipitation, and ecosystem types-represented in the System.
Cordell, H. Ken; Murphy, Danielle; Riitters, Kurt H.; Harvard, J.E., III. 2005. The human context and natural character of wilderness lands. In: The Multiple Values of Wilderness: 57-89