Example of an inholding map.

National Inventory


The Wilderness Land Trust (WLT) completed an exhaustive survey of the remaining private holdings located in the nation’s designated wilderness lands. It’s a good news bad news story.


  • Since the first inventory was done in 1992, the acreage has gone down from an estimated 400,000, even though 220 new wilderness and an additional 14.5 million acres have been added.  We’re over half way to being able to say – Yup, it’s done – Designated wilderness is secure.


  • Within designated wilderness in the lower 48 states remain nearly 180,000 acres of private lands in 2,883 parcels.  That’s 2,883 private owners who have a different idea for managing land within designated wilderness than as a source of clean water, clean air, habitat and a refuge for quiet recreation.  These lands put together are nearly 11 times larger than all the Walmarts in the United States.


The WLT is the only national organization dedicated solely to buying these lands and adding them to the National Wilderness Preservation System.


Our continuing mission to eliminate these pockets of inholdings and create a seamless wilderness system is vital, echoing the spirit and intent of the original Wilderness Act.


Request a digital copy of the National Inventory






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When the Trust started working on this problem, there were 400,000 acres of private lands within designated wilderness in the lower 48 States. 


Our inventory completed in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act reveals that now 180,000 acres remain.