Celebrate National Wilderness Month

Bison and River

September is National Wilderness Month!

In 2013, President Obama proclaimed this monthly holiday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act, which changed America’s public land conservation laws and led to many national and state parks across the country.

To illustrate the essence of the National Wilderness Month, here’s a paragraph from President Obama’s proclamation:

“In our Nation’s earliest days, a vast majority of North America was wilderness—from majestic plains and imposing mountain ranges to dense forests and rushing waterways. Today, protected wild spaces continue to serve as a backdrop for curious and adventurous Americans to seek the thrill and joy of connecting with the sacred spirit of our country’s wilderness, offering a wide variety of activities including hiking, camping, and climbing. This month, as we cherish our vast and vibrant natural heritage, we resolve to preserve its splendors for all who will follow in our footsteps.– The American Presidency Project, Proclamation 9482—National Wilderness Month, 2016

Wilderness Act Signed into Law

September marks the anniversary of the Wilderness Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 3, 1964. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres of federal land, the result of a long effort to protect federal wilderness and to create a formal mechanism for designating wilderness. The Wilderness Act is well known for its succinct and poetic definition of wilderness:

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” – Howard Zahniser

Enjoy the Outdoors

Celebrate the month by getting out and visiting some of our State and National Parks. Or, for more local ideas here are a few suggestions on how you can get started to actively appreciate and enjoy our beautiful wilderness:

  1. Go for a walk outdoors
  2. Photograph the wilderness
  3. View the changing colors of fall
  4. Go camping
  5. Watch for wildlife
  6. Picnic in the park
  7. Watch a sunrise or sunset

In addition, the fourth Saturday in September celebrates the connection between people and green spaces in their community with the annual “National Public Lands Day” The day is set aside for volunteers to improve the health of public lands, parks and historic sites. This day is traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort.

Resources on how to get involved

The Bureau of Land Management has a State-by-State Volunteer Contact List.

For more details:


The National Environmental Education Foundation has resources for Virtual and In-Person Events.

For more details:


National Park Service sets aside the day to visit a National Park for Free. For more information on getting involved, the National Park Service has many ways to participate.

For more details:


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