WW Weighs In

Thank you for the thousands of letters you've recently sent to Congress and the agencies on numerous Wilderness issues. Learn more about some of the issues we're working on:

Powderhorn Wilderness, CO

BLM harms wilderness with motorized grazing permits: As people are distracted by the global pandemic, they may not realize that the Bureau of Land Management in western Colorado is abandoning its wilderness protection responsibilities and choosing cows over wilderness, violating the law, and ignoring its own obligations to the public. Read the rest of WW’s op-ed.

gray wolf

Time for the Forest Service to curtail Idaho’s wolf slaughter in Wilderness: Since being stripped of Endangered Species Act protections and having their “management” turned over to the states, thousands of gray wolves have been needlessly killed on public lands and Wilderness areas across Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. But Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is carrying out its War on Wolves to a grotesque extreme. Read the rest of WW’s op-ed.

Gila Wilderness, NM

Protect America’s first Wilderness: Wilderness Watch is urging the Forest Service to strengthen wilderness protections in its draft Gila National Forest plan revision by maintaining untrammeled conditions, implementing prevention measures for weed control (which have proven to be more effective than herbicides), close vacant livestock grazing allotments, and require commercial outfitters to abide by group and stock size limits. The plan covers the Blue Range Wilderness plus the Gila and Aldo Leopold, which were part of America’s first Wilderness.  Read WW’s comments.

Cows and their damage in the North Mariposa Mountains Wilderness, Arizona, by George Wuerthner

Proposed BLM Grazing Regulations Threaten Wilderness Across the West:  The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposed changes to livestock grazing regulations on public lands are problematic for nearly 5 million acres of Wilderness across the West, including the habitat for numerous imperiled species. Read comments WW signed onto.

Sawtooth Wilderness by Leon Werdinger Photography

America's bedrock environmental law under attack: The Trump administration’s proposed overhaul of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) would dismantle the law as we know it—by allowing more resource exploitation and environment damage on our public lands, including Wilderness, and creating loopholes that would enable federal agencies to ignore public comment. Read comments WW signed onto.

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest by Friends of the Clearwater

Forest Service must protect Selway-Bitterroot/River of No Return Wilderness complex:  WW is urging the Forest Service to protect some of our least developed and most ecologically significant public lands in the lower 48 states as the agency proposes a weaker forest management plan for the 4 million-acre Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest (NPCNF) in Idaho. The NPCNF is part of the largest Wilderness complex in the lower 48. Read comments WW signed onto.


A note regarding the Twitter feature in Wilderness Watch's action alerts: There’s been some confusion related to the Twitter feature of Wilderness Watch’s action alerts. We wanted to clarify that the Twitter feature is optional. Once you submit your comment via email, you will see the Twitter option, which also includes a link to “skip Tweeting”. Clicking that link brings up a confirmation page for your email having been sent. However please note that your comment was submitted prior to the Twitter option, so it’s not necessary to either use the Twitter feature or click “skip Tweeting.”


Wilderness in the News/Updates

  • Grizzly again near Wilderness in Idaho: The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has confirmed fresh grizzly tracks just northwest of the Gospel-Hump Wilderness on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, and there’s speculation that the tracks could be from the same bear spotted in that part of the national forest last summer. The grizzly tracks underscore the need to end black bear baiting in Wilderness in Idaho. Read a news article.
  • Boundary Waters Mines in the courts: The two new proposed copper-nickel sulfide mines near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeastern Minnesota are tied up in the courts. For PolyMet’s proposed mine, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has blocked the all-important Permit to Mine and Dam Safety Permit, while the same court has also required a new evidentiary hearing on the Water Quality Permit. For the Twin Metals mine, a Trump-appointed federal judge ruled against environmental interests as expected on whether the two expired federal exploration and mining permits were illegally renewed; that decision has just been appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where we expect a more balanced reception.
  • Destructive road jeopardizes wild Alaska:  In late March, the BLM approved a 211-mile-long road through the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve to the so-called Ambler Mining District. The Ambler Road would facilitate huge mining operations, benefitting a private Canadian company at the expense of Wilderness and wildlife. Read a news article.
  • Wildlife and too much recreation: We’ve written about the growing problem of too much recreation in Wilderness and its impacts on solitude, wildlife, and Wilderness itself. A few recent articles (though not specifically about Wilderness) talk about the problem that too much recreation poses for wildlife survival:
    When the love of skiing endangers wildlife
    Will we ever know rec’s true impact on wildlife?

Has the grizzly bear really recovered? In a short film co-sponsored by Wilderness Watch, leading scientists with more than 150 years of expertise outline growing threats to grizzly bear recovery, including removing Endangered Species Act protections, plus opportunities to protect the great bear.  Watch the film


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Photos: Sawtooth Wilderness, ID by Leon Werdinger Photography; Powderhorn Wilderness, CO by BLM; gray wolf by MacNeil Lyons/NPS; Gila Wilderness, NM by U.S. Forest Service via Flickr; Cows and their damage in the North Mariposa Mountains Wilderness, Arizona, by George Wuerthner; Sawtooth Wilderness by Leon Werdinger Photography; Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest by Friends of the Clearwater; Grizzlies by alh1 via Flickr


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