“The Beginnings of the National Wilderness Preservation System
“When the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, 54 areas (9.1 million acres) in 13 states were designated as wilderness. This law established these areas as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Since 1964, the NWPS has grown almost every year and now includes 803 areas (111,706,287) in 44 states and Puerto Rico. In 1980, the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) added over 56 million acres of wilderness to the system, the largest addition in a single year. 1984 marks the year when the most new wilderness areas were added.
“Overall, however, only about 5% of the entire United States—an area slightly larger than the state of California—is protected as wilderness. Because Alaska contains just over half of America's wilderness, only about 2.7% of the contiguous United States—an area about the size of Minnesota—is protected as wilderness.”
From The American Presidency Project, Proclamation 10248—National Wilderness Month, 2021:
“During National Wilderness Month, we affirm that our Nation's public lands and waters must be accessible to all Americans, we recognize that our lands and waters can revitalize the soul and solidify our respect for the natural wonders that surround us and the earth we share, and we recommit to their preservation and protection, today and for future generations.
“The Wilderness Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, opened a new chapter in American conservation by creating the National Wilderness Preservation System. The primary goal of the act is to preserve the places "where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled." Today, the National Wilderness Preservation System includes more than 800 wilderness areas spanning more than 111 million acres. These wilderness areas are located within national forests, parks, wildlife refuges, and conservation lands and waters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans turned to these areas for physical recreation, mental well-being, and inspiration, and our public lands and waters became places of healing and sanctuary.
“But our natural wonders are at risk. Now more than ever, we must come together to combat the climate crisis and unprecedented acceleration of species extinction, to protect and conserve our great outdoors before it is too late.”
The 2010 Population Distribution in the United States and Puerto Rico map (also referred to as the "Nighttime Map") portrays the distribution of population based on the results of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing.
Note: Two versions of this dot distribution map are available, a large format map and a small format map. On the large format or wall map (which measures approximately 28 x 24 inches), each white dot represents 1,000 people. On the small format or page-size map above (which measures 11 x 8.5 inches), each white dot represents 7,500 people.
Source: Quarterly Services Survey (QSS) (2012-2022).
Source: 2020 County Business Patterns (CBP).
Source: Nonemployer Statistics (NES).
Source: Annual Business Survey (ABS).
Note: The Snapshot tool has a selectable category called "Parks & Recreation" which includes Natural Resources as well as Parks and Recreation. View and navigate a variety of statistics by Year (2012 – 2017), by Government Type (Local Only, State & Local Combined and State Only), and by Variable (Employment, Expenditure and Revenue).