Idaho is known as the wilderness state. Many of our most stunning landscapes and richest habitats are designated wilderness. Through acts of Congress, a total of about 4.8 million acres of public lands in Idaho – approximately 14% of all its public lands – have been protected with the wilderness designation.
What is wilderness?
The Wilderness Act was enacted in 1964 to “assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition”.
Wilderness designation is the gold standard for preservation of America’s public lands. These special areas are managed for their wilderness character: natural, untrammeled, undeveloped, solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation. Wilderness areas are open to hunting, fishing, hiking, berry picking, camping, horseback riding, and paddling. These areas are closed to motorized and mechanized vehicles and activities such as mining and timber harvest that would interfere with wilderness characters.
ICL’s history of wilderness advocacy is rich. ICL was instrumental in the establishment of the Frank Church-River of No Return, Owyhee Canyonlands, and Boulder-White Clouds wilderness areas.