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'This American Land' Series Features Wilderness in New Mexico, Montana, Other States

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Watch clips from this season of "This American Land"

With the election over and Congress reconvening to address unfinished business, Pew and its partners are working on 25 pieces of legislation that together would protect more than 4 million acres of public wild land across the country. These bipartisan wilderness bills, introduced by Democrats and Republicans alike, enjoy broad, local backing because they will safeguard stunning places such as Idaho’s Boulder-White Cloud Mountains, Ute Mountain and the Rio Grande Gorge in New Mexico, and Montana’s East Pioneer Mountains.

Support for preserving wild places begins in communities, often with years of work before federal legislation is introduced. Much effort goes into building diverse coalitions that work with lawmakers to sponsor legislation to preserve public land for future generations.

This year, Pew partnered with “This American Land,” a television series carried on public television stations nationwide that delves into important environmental issues, to showcase these local efforts—highlighting the special places and the people who are working to protect them. The second season began airing nationwide in August spotlighting wilderness in Tennessee, Colorado, California, and Nevada and continues throughout the fall.  

Rio Grande del Norte, New Mexico

In northern New Mexico, the Rio Grande runs through a spectacular gorge formed by a rift in the Earth’s crust. Efforts are under way to protect about 235,000 acres north of Taos, including the iconic Ute Mountain.

Learn why local Hispanic farmers and ranchers support legislation, which will preserve traditional hunting, grazing, fishing and wood gathering, on this episode of “This American Land,” produced in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Montana Wilderness

In Montana, unlikely bedfellows have come together to craft a plan to protect nearly 700,000 acres of new wilderness.

After many years of gridlock and stalemate, see how local residents, loggers, sportsmen and conservation groups have put aside their differences in this episode of “This American Land,” produced in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Boulder-White Clouds, Idaho

The Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act would protect 330,000 acres of wilderness in central Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Mountains. Hear from local business owners, the mother of young twins and a wheelchair user about why keeping this area open and undeveloped is important to them in this episode of “This American Land,” produced in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts.  

Sonoran Desert, Arizona

A diverse coalition of stakeholders is working to make sure wildlife and ancient artifacts are protected in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.

You’ll see why a pastor, farmers, conservationists and even the U.S. Air Force all want wilderness designated near Phoenix in this episode of “This American Land,” produced in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Related News and Resources

  • Tell Congress to Protect More Wilderness

    • Action Alert
    • Apr 09, 2014
    Take action: Urge your members of Congress to support more wilderness protections this year!


  • Tennessee Wilderness Act Takes Key Step Toward Passage

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 08, 2014
    The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry approved the Tennessee Wilderness Act (S. 1294) on April 8, 2014, sending it to the full Senate for action.


  • Spotlight On: A Wild Earth Day!

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 04, 2014
    On April 22, 2014, people from coast to coast will take action, both large and small, as caretakers of the Earth. Here are a few events around the country in which wilderness advocacy groups are taking the occasion of Earth Day to engage with their communities and spread the message of stewardship.


  • Congressional Update: March Came in Like a Lion

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 04, 2014
    March roared in with two significant public lands victories that together protect nearly 35,000 acres of American shoreline, marking the first action to preserve wilderness by the 113th Congress.


  • Adding Wildness to Wildness in California's San Gabriel Mountains

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 04, 2014
    The Pew Charitable Trusts is working with this local coalition and Congresswoman Judy Chu on legislation to expand protection of the San Gabriel Mountains—both rugged and sublime—for generations to come.


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