The Wilderness Land Trust

Today, the number of private inholding acres in the lower 48 states is less than half of what it was when we began in 1992. Approximately 176,000 acres of inholdings remain, and we have a big, bold, ambitious goal to remove all remaining threats to wilderness over the next two decades.

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General Public
Outdoor Recreationists
Wildlife Enthusiasts


The Wilderness Land Trust is focused on one program - acquiring and transferring private land (inholdings) to public ownership.

The National Wilderness Preservation System is a refuge for animals, plants, clean water, clean air and a foundation for 21st century conservation. It may hold the key to future conservation and the tools for adapting to global climate change. However, the system is still filled with holes, 180,000 acres of private lands that fracture the whole. Across the country there are plans to develop mines, retreats, logging operations and resorts deep within wilderness holdings, fragmenting a resource that cannot afford to be lost.

The Trust's continuing mission to eliminate these pockets of inholdings and create a seamless wilderness system is vital, echoing the spirit and intent of the original Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Land Trust is the only national organization dedicated solely to buying these lands and adding them to the National Wilderness Preservation System.


Evidence of Program's Success

The Wilderness Land Trust is the only national conservation organization solely dedicated to purchasing privately owned lands (inholdings) within designated and proposed wilderness areas and then transferring them to public ownership to complete designated and proposed wilderness areas, or directly protect wilderness values. Since its inception in 1992, the Trust has protected 484 parcels, comprising more than 51,000 acres of wilderness inholdings in 106 designated and proposed wilderness areas. The Wilderness Land Trust is responsible for completing 16 wilderness areas by removing the last privately held lands within their wilderness boundaries (as of November 2019).

We vowed to protect the integrity of designated wilderness areas by working to acquire all remaining private inholdings - down from a high of 400,000 acres in 1992 to just under 200,000 acres today - thereby removing the threat of commercial, residential and industrial development in our nation's cherished Wilderness Preservation System. And we are making good on that promise.
Since its founding, the Trust has permanently protected 50,489 acres, transferred 479 parcels in 106 wilderness areas, and helped complete 16 designated wilderness areas by removing the last remaining inholding.

During this past year, The Wilderness Land Trust acquired nearly 3,300 acres of private lands in in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington state. At the same time, we worked diligently to transfer more than 700 acres over to public ownership in California, Oregon and Colorado. But that's not all.

At any given time the Trust has dozens of projects under development - 37 at the time of this writing - that, combined with a lot of hard work, tenacity, and patience, could eventually become more wilderness in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona.

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