What is Wilderness?

The National Wilderness Preservation System was established through passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964 to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States. Wilderness designation is intended to preserve and protect certain lands in their natural state. Only Congress, with Presidential approval, may designate areas as wilderness.

Wilderness provides a contrast to lands where human activities dominate the landscape. Wilderness is managed for the use and enjoyment of the people in a manner that will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, for their protection, preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness.

Wilderness in the Southern Nevada District

The BLM Southern Nevada District is responsible for managing 15 designated wilderness areas totaling 231,628 acres. In 2002, the Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act was signed into law. Through this Federal Act, Congress designated 17 new wilderness areas as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This Act also expanded one existing wilderness. The Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004 designated additional wilderness within the district.

Wilderness allows people to enjoy the timeless beauty of America's natural wonders by hiking, horseback riding, camping, wildlife watching, hunting, photography, and rock climbing. You'll find a rich mixture of plants, wildlife, geology, clues to past cultures and history, scenic beauty, grand vistas, and miniature wonders. While in wilderness, take a back seat to nature - you'll be rewarded by its grandeur!

Rare glimpse of a ringtail, Rainbow Mountain Wilderness - Photo courtesy Sendi Kalcic A visitor enjoys the grand views and outstanding solitude, Eldorado Wilderness - Photo courtesy Randy Kyes
 Red sandstone towers behind sunray flowers in gentle repose, Muddy Mountains Wilderness - Photo courtesy Sendi Kalcic

Related Websites

Leave No Trace


Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center

Southern Nevada Agency Partnership

SNAP Wilderness Poster

Additional wilderness laws, regulations, and policies for download: