Gated Private Property


Why The Wilderness Land Trust?


We recently celebrated the golden anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act that has created a globally unique system of 758 wilderness areas where “man is a visitor that does not remain” (The Wilderness Act). The National Wilderness Preservation System is a refuge for animals, plants, clean water, clean air, recreation and a foundation for 21st century conservation. It may hold the key to future conservation and the tools for adapting to global climate change.


But is it secure?


Private inholdings remain the greatest threat to the globally unique, 109 million acre preservation system that millions of people have spent 50 years creating. When inholdings are developed, they essentially tear a hole in the fabric of surrounding wilderness.  Some 180,000 acres of inholdings remain within federal wilderness areas.


The Wilderness Land Trust is the only national conservation organization dedicated solely to purchasing privately owned wilderness lands to ensure that America keeps its promise to future generations that America’s wilderness will remain forever wild.


Our Mission
We Keep the Promise of Wilderness - By acquiring and transferring private lands (inholdings) to public ownership that complete designated and proposed wilderness areas, or directly protect wilderness values.

Who we are:
We are real estate professionals providing a bridge between private landowners who wish to sell their wilderness lands and the public agencies managing federal wilderness areas. 


What we do:
We buy wilderness property outright from willing sellers who wish to see their land protected. In our 25 year history, we’ve acquired wilderness properties that were threatened with exclusive resort development, road construction, mining, logging and oil and gas drilling.  We have successfully completed over 443 land transactions throughout the West.  We’ve purchased land in order to provide access to wilderness areas previously closed to the public and to provide intact habitat and unbroken migration corridors for wildlife, including endangered species.  Once we acquire a wilderness property, we transfer it to a federal agency to manage the land permanently.

Where we work:
We buy land in designated wilderness areas and in areas proposed for wilderness designation in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.  

How we’re funded:
Private donors and foundations provide the funds needed to acquire and sell the properties. Each project consists of two transactions, the purchase and the transfer. We pay for appraisals, legal services, surveys and the other costs of the transactions as well as rehabilitation and clean up of properties that need to be restored to wilderness quality before being returned to federally designated wilderness.








wilderness50 logo


20th Anniversary Scrapbook





“WLT is an invaluable partner to us by serving as an intermediary in negotiations with private property owners. We have found them to be nimble and quick in responding to potential threats. WLT has been valuable to us throughout the West.”


Harris Sherman