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Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a landmark conservation law that helps ensure America’s pristine public lands are protected and managed to preserve their natural conditions. Thanks to the Wilderness Act, many of America’s greatest landscapes have been set aside to survive as a legacy for future generations.
The idea that all Americans should have pristine, forever wild places to enjoy was truly visionary. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act in law in 1964, it set aside 9 million acres of land protection. Today, that number has grown to 109 million acres.
To commemorate the anniversary, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring:
The Wilderness Act is widely recognized as one of this nation’s most important conservation laws. This law and the National Wilderness Preservation System it established have served as a model for similar wilderness protection laws in a number of our States and in nations around the globe.
Today’s anniversary is made even more special by the recent passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, which designated an additional 2 million acres of wilderness across 9 states, bringing the number of wilderness areas up to 762!