The Wilderness Act of 1964 – This visionary and poetic bill created the National Wilderness Preservation System and defined what “wilderness” is.
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1968) – This act established a national system of rivers to be preserved in free-flowing condition, with their immediate environments protected. Congress selected certain rivers that possess outstandingly remarkable outdoor values. They established an initial system of eight rivers, and set up methods and procedures for adding new rivers to the system. There are three classifications of rivers in the system: wild, scenic, or recreational depending on the level of development near the stretch of river.
National Environmental Policy Act (1970, 1975, 1982) – This act establishes the legal foundation requiring federal agencies to consider all actions and programs utilizing a systematic, interdisciplinary approach to evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed action. Further, agencies must identify environmental impacts which cannot be avoided, and must consider alternatives to the proposed action. Also, agencies must consider the relationship between local short-term uses of man’s environment and enhancement of long-term productivity and must identify and consider irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources involved in the proposed action. One prominent provision of this act directs all federal agencies to prepare Environmental Impact Statements before development on public lands and requires public involvement on land management plans and issues.