The Wilderness Act of 1964 is an environmental law that protects the natural lands of the United States. This Act contains specific guidelines for the separation and protection of undeveloped federal land. The Wilderness Act was a landmark victory for the environmental movement. More than 100 million acres (40 million hectares) have been part of the desert system since 1964. The Wilderness Act separates desert areas intended for recreational or scientific use or for wildlife habitat. Wilderness fields may not be used for timber, grazing, excavation, or other destructive purposes. The Secretary of Agriculture was directed to study and recommend suitable areas for national forestry. The Wilderness Act is considered one of America’s greatest conservation achievements. This law created our national wildlife conservation system and provided a way for Americans to include obsolete territories in their systems.
The legal protection of the wilderness in the United States has always been controversial. Those who stand on the sidelines of the debate believe that art in the wilderness serves as a necessary psychological resistance to civilization. With the rise of automobiles in the mid-twentieth century, Americans could travel anywhere in the United States in a matter of days, not months. Companies can also harness America’s vast natural resources and move products to remote markets quickly and cheaply. The two groups clashed in the early 1950s when the federal government considered plans to develop water and power facilities in the west (Colorado River Storage Project), including the proposed Eco Park Dam at the Dinosaur National Memorial. The Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups opposed the development of this land, saying that it should be protected for its unique natural qualities and should not be developed. The law provides criteria for determining the suitability and establishes restrictions on operations in a designated area. It allows the purpose of the law to further advance the acceptance of gifts, donations, and donations and requires an annual report at the opening of each session of Congress on the arrangements for desertification. These early conservative efforts led President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1665) to sign a bill to protect the Yosemite Valley for the enjoyment of all Americans. In 1890, Congress passed the Yosemite Reserves Act, which created Yosemite National Park. Although the indomitable purpose of the organic law was to ensure the future supply of timber, the law was the first comprehensive plan to separate large areas of federal land. In 1916, Congress passed the National Park Service Organic Act, which established the National Park Service. After the fight against Echo Park, Howard Johnson – an official with the Wilderness Society who worked to persuade Congress to pass federal desert legislation – proposed that environmentalists take aggressive action and propose a legislative plan to protect the desert permanently. Johnny was convinced that public opinion favored environmentalists.
At the request of federal agencies or conservation groups, Congress considers several proposals to add new land to the wilderness system each year. When the Wildlife Act became law in 1964, the Wilderness System covered 9.1 million acres. Specific desert areas, lands, and law enforcement are listed in the “Annual Report on Lands Under the Control of the Republic’s Fish and Wildlife Services,” obtained from the Realty Department of the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services.