Environmental Initiatives

Media Inquiries

If you are a journalist and would like additional information, please visit the Media Contacts page.

Media Contacts

Subscribe to News Feeds

Pew offers news delivered to your desktop via RSS feed. Subscribing is easy. To learn more or get started, follow the link below.

Subscribe to News Feeds

For The Record

When Pew’s work is questioned or criticized we respond through letters to the editor or op-eds.

Read Pew's Responses

Wilderness Legislation Introduced in the 112th Congress

Other Resource

The Pew Campaign for America's Wilderness worked on the following bills in the 112th Congress.

Jump to a state:
California | Colorado | Idaho | Maine | Michigan | Montana | Nevada | New Mexico | Oregon | Tennessee | Utah | Washington

 

 California


Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Wilderness Act (H.R. 41/S. 1574)

Beauty MountainOn January 5, 2011, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced legislation to protect over 21,000 acres of wilderness in north San Diego County. The proposed wilderness sits adjacent to the Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia wilderness areas located in Riverside County.

On September 19, 2011, Sen. Boxer (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The areas are characterized by deep canyons and fascinating rock formations and offer recreation opportunities such as hiking, backpacking and hunting.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on October 25, 2011.

 

Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests Protection Act (H.R. 113)

Angeles and San Bernardino National ForestsOn January 5, 2011, Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) introduced legislation to protect as wilderness approximately 18,000 acres of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests near Los Angeles. Encompassing the San Gabriel Mountains, these National Forests are two of the most widely visited forests in the Nation.

The wilderness additions proposed by the Congressman to the existing Sheep Mountain and Cucamonga Wilderness Areas will protect these popular public lands located in the “backyards” of millions of Californians to ensure they remain wild and available for hiking, camping, horseback riding and other outdoor activities.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) is a co-sponsor.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on October 25, 2011.

 

The California Desert Protection Act of 2011 (S. 138)

California Desert Protection Act of 2011 On January 25, 2011, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to protect almost 1.6 million acres of desert landscape.

This bill will designate more than 346,000 acres of wilderness, create the Desert Trails and Sand to Snow National Monuments, expand existing national parks, and protect vital waterways such as the Amargosa River and Deep Creek.

The legislation will also protect the historical value of these lands including sacred Native American trails and sites and the legendary Route 66.

 

The Pinnacles National Park Act (H.R. 3641/S. 161)

 Pinnacles National Park ActOn January 25, 2011, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the Pinnacles National Park Act. This bill will designate the area around Pinnacles National Monument in California as a National Park. The bill will also expand the existing Pinnacles Wilderness by 2,715 acres and change the name to the Hain Wilderness, after Schuyler Hain, an early homesteader whose efforts to protect the area led to the establishment by Theodore Roosevelt of Pinnacles National Monument in 1908.

Protection for this area will preserve the chaparral, grasslands, blue oak woodlands, many unique flora and fauna and the ancestral and cultural history of native Americans.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is a co-sponsor.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks on May 11, 2011.

Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the House on December 13, 2011.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on June 8, 2012.

The legislation was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee on July 11, 2012, however the wilderness
provision was removed from the bill.

 

Los Padres Conservation and Recreation Act of 2012 (H.R. 4109)

Los Padres National ForestOn February 29, 2012, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) introduced legislation to protect roughly 66,000 acres of wild public land in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, CA.

The bill will expand the Dick Smith Wilderness by 35,000 acres, the Matilija by 16,600 acres and the Sespe by 14,500 acres. It will also protect over 74 miles of Wild and Scenic rivers.

The area provides a significant source of clean water for surrounding communities and is home to a diverse array of species including the endangered California Condor and more than 400 species of fish and wildlife whose habitat is under increasing pressure from surrounding development.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on June 28, 2012.

 Colorado


Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act of 2012 (S. 3400)

Hermosa Creek, ColoradoOn July 18, 2012, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced legislation to protect the 108,000 acre Hermosa Creek watershed in the San Juan National Forest of southwest Colorado.

The bill will designate nearly 38,000 acres of wilderness within the watershed.

The area is prized for its stunning vistas, pristine water quality and diverse plant and animal species.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is a co-sponsor.

 

Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Act (H.R. 1701)

Eagle and Summit County Wilderness ActOn May 3, 2011, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced legislation to protect nearly 166,000 acres of pristine wild lands, including 81,790 acres of wilderness, on the White River National Forest and surrounding Bureau of Land Management areas in Colorado’s Summit and Eagle Counties.

The bill will designate as wilderness, the Bull Gulch, Spraddle Creek and Hoosier Ridge areas, increasing protection for wildlife connectivity in the region.

The legislation is supported groups representing rock and mountain climbers, ranchers, outfitters, fly fishing shops, rafting and guiding companies, and a variety of other businesses and nonprofit organizations.

 

 

San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act of 2011 (S. 1635)

San Juan MountainsOn September 26, 2011, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced legislation to protect nearly 55,000 acres of public land in southwest Colorado, including 33,000 acres as wilderness. This addition to the 480,000-acre San Juan National Forest wilderness will provide protection to critical landscape linkages.

The San Juan Mountain range is one of the most geologically diverse mountain ranges in the world and is home to the threatened Canada lynx and the Gunnison sage grouse and Colorado River cuttthroat trout, whose status is under review. The wilderness legislation is supported by local communities, elected officials, ranchers and recreation groups.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is a co-sponsor.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on March 22, 2012.

 Idaho


Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (H.R. 163)

Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act On January 5, 2011 Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) introduced legislation to permanently protect over 330,000 acres of wilderness in central Idaho.
The bill will create three wilderness areas in the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests and the Challis District of the Bureau of Land Management within the Boulder-White Clouds Mountain range.

Boulder-White Clouds is the largest unprotected wild roadless area in the national forests of the lower 48 states. Its broad range of elevations and habitats lends to the area’s enormous biological and geographical diversity. Since the land is uninterrupted by roads, Boulder-White Clouds is a popular hunting and fishing destination, with spawning salmon and big game such as elk, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, black bear, and cougar.

 Maine


Maine Coastal Islands Wilderness Act of 2011 (H.R. 2984)

Maine Coastal Islands Wilderness ActOn September 21, 2011, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) introduced legislation to protect 13 islands of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

The bill will designate 3,125 acres of wilderness, protecting pristine habitat for migratory seabirds and waterfowl and elevating the profile of the area to boost tourism for the area’s economy.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) is a co-sponsor.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on March 29, 2012.

 Michigan


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act (Add H.R. 977/S. 140)

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act On January 25, 2011, Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Debbie Ann Stabenow (D-MI) introduced legislation to protect over 32,500 acres of wilderness in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

This area is on the mainland shore of Lake Michigan and is popular with hunters, anglers, hikers and boaters.

On March 9, 2011, Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) introduced companion legislation in the House.

Reps. Dan Benishek (R-MI), Dave Camp (R-MI), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Sander Levin (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Fred Upton (R-MI) and Tim Walberg (R-MI) are co-sponsors.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks on May 11, 2011.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on October 25, 2011.

This legislation was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 10, 2011.

 Montana


Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (S. 268)

Forest Jobs and Recreation Act On February 3, 2011, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. This bill will protect nearly 700,000 acres of wilderness across the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Lolo and Kootenai National Forests, including the East and West Pioneers, the Sapphires, Lost Cabin and Lima Peaks, and additions to the Lee Metcalf, Anaconda-Pintlar, and North Fork Blackfoot Monture Creek Wilderness areas.

The bill will also improve forest health and fish and wildlife habitat as well as protect the lands for hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding. Along with wilderness protection, the measure will designate areas for backcountry recreation and areas for forest stewardship.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) is a co-sponsor.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on May 25, 2011.

 

Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act (S. 1774)

Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act On November 1, 2011, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced legislation to protect 275,000 acres of rustic public land in western Montana. The bill will add 50,500 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and 16,700 acres to the Scapegoat Wilderness.

The legislation will also designate 208,000 acres as Conservation Management Areas and prioritizes noxious-weed eradication and prevention on the protected lands.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on March 22, 2012.

 Nevada


Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act of 2011 (H.R. 3377/S. 1788)

Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act of 2011 On November 2, 2011, Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Dean Heller (R-NV) and Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Joe Heck (R-NV) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced legislation to designate the 26,000 acre Pine Forest Range Wilderness in northwest Nevada.

The Pine Forest Range is a popular destination for sportsmen and recreationists and is prime habitat for mule deer, sage grouse and mountain lion.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on March 8, 2012.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on March 22, 2012.

 New Mexico


Manzano Wilderness Addition (H.R. 490)

Cibola National Forest

On January 26, 2011, Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced legislation to expand the Cibola National Forest.

The bill will expand the existing Manzano Mountain Wilderness in the south end of the forest by approximately 900 acres. It will protect the area’s critical role as a wildlife corridor for animals that migrate from north to south across the state.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on October 25, 2011

 

 

Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act (H.R. 1241/S. 667)

Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment ActOn March 29, 2011, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act to protect as a conservation area some 235,000 acres northwest of Taos, including more than 21,000 acres of designated wilderness. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) is a co-sponsor.

The bill will designate about 13,500 acres of the Ute Mountain area as the Cerro del Yuta Wilderness, and 8,000 acres as the Rio San Antonio wilderness.

The legislation will also give protection to the Rio Grande Gorge, home to one of the great migratory routes in the world, offering nesting places to falcons, eagles and hawks.

Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM) introduced companion legislation in the House. Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) is a co-sponsor.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on May 18, 2011.

This legislation was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 10, 2011.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on March 29, 2012.

 

The Organ Mountains-Dona Ana County Conservation and Protection Act (S. 1024)

The Organ Mountains-Dona Ana County Conservation and Protection ActOn May 19, 2011, Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced The Organ Mountains-Dona Ana County Conservation and Protection Act. This bill will designate 241,000 acres of wilderness and create a 100,000-acre National Conservation Area around the Organ and Robledo Mountains and parts of Broad Canyon.

This area in Southern New Mexico, near Las Cruces, is known for hiking, hunting, camping, climbing and horseback riding. The iconic Organ Mountains offer some of the most breathtakingly scenic views in the state.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on August 3, 2011.

Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act (S. 2468)

Columbine-Hondo Wilderness ActOn April 26, 2012, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced legislation to protect 45,000 acres of wilderness north of Taos in the Carson National Forest.

The area encompasses the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, including Gold Hill, its highest peak and is home to elk, mountain lion, black bear, pine marten and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. It also contains the headwaters for two rivers that supply water to the acequias used by the local community.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) is a co-sponsor.

 Oregon


The Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven Wilderness Act (S. 607)

Cathedral Rock

On March 17, 2011, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced legislation to designate, as wilderness, over 16,000 acres in the Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven areas near the lower John Day River.

The areas encompass dramatic basalt cliffs and rolling hills of juniper, sagebrush and bluebranch wheatgrass. The landscape also offers key habitat for pygmy rabbit and Ferruginous hawk and is a critical corridor connecting the habitats of a large number of key wildlife species.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on May 18, 2011.

 

 

 

Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act (H.R. 1413/S. 766)

Devil's StaircaseRep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act on April 7, 2011, a measure that will permanently protect nearly 30,000 acres of wilderness on Wassen Creek in Oregon’s Coast Range. Considered one of the most secluded locations in Oregon, Devil’s Staircase is home to some of the finest examples of classic old growth forest left in the Coast Range. Many native species are found here, including threatened spotted owls, elk, black bear, mountain lions, river otter and mink.
The bill will also designate more than 14 miles of Wassen and Franklin Creeks as Wild and Scenic.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) are co-sponsors.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on May 18, 2011.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on October 25, 2011.

This legislation was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 10, 2011.

 

 

Rogue Wilderness Area Expansion Act of 2011 (H.R. 3436/S. 2001)

Rogue Wilderness Area Expansion Act of 2011On November 16, 2011, Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced legislation to protect over 58,000 acres of wilderness on the Rogue River in southwest Oregon.

The bill will also designate 93 miles of the Rogue River and its tributaries as Wild and Scenic.

This area provides habitat for the threatened spotted owl, river otter, osprey and elk. The Rogue River is the second largest producer of Steelhead and Pacific salmon in Oregon and is internationally recognized for its fishing and boating opportunities. Outdoor recreation, tourism and the fishing industries help sustain the local economy.

On December 15, 2011, Sens. Ron Wyden (R-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on March 8, 2012.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on March 22, 2012.

 Tennessee


The Tennessee Wilderness Act (S. 1090)

Tennessee Wilderness ActOn May 26, 2011, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced legislation to protect nearly 20,000 acres of wilderness on the Cherokee National Forest.

The legislation will expand five existing wilderness areas, including Sampson Mountain and Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock, and create one new one, the Upper Bald River.

The measure will preserve important watersheds and habitat for native brook trout, black bear, bobcat, grey fox and white-tailed deer and will protect a popular migratory, breeding and wintering habitat for numerous bird species.

This legislation was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 10, 2011.

 Utah


Wasatch Wilderness and Watershed Protection Act (H.R. 4267)

Wasatch WildernessOn March 27, 2012, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) introduced legislation to protect more than 26,000 acres of national forest land in the central Wasatch Mountains just outside of Salt Lake City.

The bill will protect the watershed that provides water for over 500,000 residents in the Salt Lake City region, designating 15,000 acres of wilderness and 10,000 acres of special management area.

 Washington


Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 608/S. 322)

Alpine Lakes Wilderness On February 10, 2011, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. David Reichert (R-WA) introduced legislation that will expand the existing 394,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness by 22,100 acres and designate parts of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers as Wild and Scenic.

The additional roadless lands protected by this bill lie in the Pratt River Valley and the Middle and South Fork Snoqualimie River Valleys, an area that includes glacier-cut U-shaped valleys, snow-capped peaks, old-growth forests, whitewater rivers and strong native trout runs.

This wilderness area is the closest and most accessible to residents of the greater Seattle metropolitan area and would preserve existing recreational opportunities for hiking, camping, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking and wildlife viewing.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Reps. Norman Dicks (D-WA), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Adam Smith (D-WA) are co-sponsors.

A hearing was held in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on May 18, 2011.

A hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on October 25, 2011.

This legislation was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 10, 2011.

Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012 (H.R. 5995/S. 3329)

South Quin (WA)On June 21, 2012, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation to protect over 126,000 acres of wilderness on the Olympic National Forest.

The bill will also designate 19 rivers and 7 tributaries, totaling 464 miles, as Wild and Scenic.

The legislation will protect sources of clean drinking water and safeguard critical salmon and steelhead habitat.

The legislation will protect sources of clean drinking water and safeguard critical salmon and steelhead habitat. It is a result of years of collaboration and cooperation with local stakeholders to address all concerns and interests involved.

 

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!

    More

  • 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.

    More

  • 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.

    More

  • 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.

    More

  • 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.

    More

X
Sign In

Member Sign In

Forgot Password?
Submit Not a Member? Join!
X

Forgot Password?

Send Password Not a Member? Join!
X

Change Password

X
(All Fields are required)
Send Message
Share this on: