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Are public lands “protected”?

By Mark Green | Development Director


Many Americans are under the impression that lands owned by the federal or state government enjoy protection of their ecological, aesthetic and recreational values. They assume that lands held in trust for all citizens must necessarily be managed to sustain the good things they offer us.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.


Most American public lands are owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service. While these are different agencies and were created at different times, neither places conservation at the top of its priorities. As a result, it is necessary to identify important wild lands and stretches of river for additional protections if we hope to keep them in a wild, scenic and biologically rich condition.

That’s where CalWild comes in

Since 1976, CalWild has become California’s recognized expert in securing wilderness and protected designations for our state’s most important habitat and recreational lands. By organizing community stakeholders, educating decision makers, lobbying elected officials and creatively campaigning in the public eye, CalWild has succeeded in passing bills through Congress and applying the federal Wilderness Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and Antiquities Act (through which a President may declare an area a National Monument) over and over again, protecting a full 13% of California’s land area.

But there is much more to be done! Federal lands make up 40% of the state, and precious landscapes remain unprotected from logging, mining, overgrazing and inappropriate off-highway vehicle use, resulting in loss of what makes them special.

Your support for CalWild is an effective step towards protecting more of what makes California unique and magical. Thank you for being a part of a rich and green future for our state.