What is Wilderness?

What is your definition of Wilderness? It could be the ocean or the Mountains. It could be both. It could also mean a bunch of different things to you. However, for the purposes of what our mission is Wilderness is a land designation managed by the United States Forest Service. Within these areas are,

wild places where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with the Earth, and find healing, meaning and significance.

Idea of Wilderness

According to Wilderness.net,


Wilderness is an indispensable part of American history, however, people have held various perspectives of wilderness throughout time. Historical events and articles, pamphlets, stories and books authored about wilderness and the environment tell us a story of shifting perceptions. During European settlement of America, wilderness was something to be feared. One settler in the early 1600s stated, “Wilderness is a dark and dismal place where all manner of wild beasts dash about uncooked.” Indeed, early settlers struggled to clear and cultivate natural lands as a way of civilizing wild America. In contrast to this utilitarian ideal, three centuries later, an American author stated, “[wilderness] is the ultimate source of health-terrestrial and human.” Slowly, public views of wilderness have shifted more towards a protection orientation emphasizing sustainable development and balance and harmony with nature.

Wilderness by Law

Again taken from the same source as above, wilderness by law has unique language about what Wilderness should be

The Wilderness Act is one of the most successful U.S. environmental laws, standing for almost 50 years without a substantial amendment, and, as such, continues to be the guiding piece of legislation for all wilderness areas. The Wilderness Act describes wilderness as follows:


“…lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition…” Section 2(a)

“…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man…” Section 2(c)

Wilderness to Us

Wilderness to us is an area defined by a law that is designated as public land and it meets the requirements by law. It is important to protect the trails and access coordioors including the roads and Wilderness Trail heads.


Quick Links

California Fire/Stove Permit Caltopo.com for trip planning inciweb to check if there are wildfires in your destination area

Wilderness Permits

Wilderness Permits are required to overnight in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, Kaiser Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness and Ansel Adams. Please get a permit. Bear cans are required in the Sierra National Forest.