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Focus Area

Wild Lands

Earthjustice is protecting ecosystems and iconic landscapes so that our magnificent wild lands stay wild enough to support wildlife -- and people.
Boris Z. / Shutterstock

In 2013, the Supreme Court solidified protections won by Earthjustice and its allies for 100,000 acres of wild lands in Utah.

WILDLANDS ARE BEING DESTROYED FOR SHORT-TERM PROFIT.

The evolution of dynamic wild ecosystems unfolds over centuries—but it takes far less time to destroy them. In just a few generations, certain industries have laid waste to old-growth forest, polluted and drained mighty rivers and erected mechanical giants to drill the earth for fossil fuel. What’s been lost in the process—clean water, key wildlife habitat, the opportunity for solitude—cannot be restored to its original state. As climate change intensifies, these wild refuges are more important than ever, which is why we fight to protect our wild lands.

EARTHJUSTICE PROTECTS WILD AREAS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS BY:

  • PRESERVING TREASURED WILD PLACES through litigation that ensures large tracts of wild land and water are preserved for future generations of people and wildlife.
  • REDUCING STRESSORS like development, drilling, deforestation and other destruction to build resilient ecosystems that can withstand climate change.

WE’RE SUCCESSFUL.

In 2012, Earthjustice’s determined litigation and advocacy campaign to protect more than 50 million acres of wild, roadless lands finally paid off in full—more than a decade after the first lawsuit. Along with many allies, we defended the Clinton-era Roadless Rule through a torrent of legal challenges and attempts to dismantle its protections for our national forests. These landmark victories preserve the sanctity and wild character of a vast amount of land for future generations to enjoy.

"Wilderness and wild things are not merely to be enjoyed on summer backpacking trips—they also must be defended." – Tim Preso, Managing Attorney of Northern Rockies office

By the Places

Wordcloud depicting some of the places Earthjustice has worked to save.

Since our founding in 1971, Earthjustice has worked to sustain wild lands and watersheds, from the Crown of the Continent to the southwest's Otero Mesa to many, many more. Our successes benefit entire ecosystems—the web of life in which each species is intricately interconnected.

Spotlight Features

Howling for the Wilderness Within

The Wilderness Act, signed into law 50 years ago in September of 1964, set aside millions of acres as wilderness, describing wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.” Nearing the anniversary of the Act, one traveler seeks a gray wolf deep in Oregon’s wilds and finds the most endangered wolf of all: within us.

Sunset Roadless: How A Win for Forests Became a Win for Climate

Colorado's Sunset Roadless Area is a place of immense beauty, boasting prime wildlife habitat and opportunities for hikers to enjoy serene, wild terrain far from the madding crowds. But it was also in the crosshairs of fossil fuel development. After a long-running battle to defend it in court, the Sunset Roadless Area gained a reprieve. It was a win for forests, for the climate—and for all of us. Find out how it happened in this photo essay.

215,000

Number of public comments in support of the Roadless Rule from Earthjustice constituents