About 71% of Utah is public lands, but only 4% of that is protected as wilderness.

From high peaks, deep with cold smoke powder, to towering rocks, cut with sinuous slot canyons, Utah has some of the most diverse and stunning wilderness landscapes in the country. By protecting Cougar Canyon we have the opportunity to expand Utah wilderness and unify thousands of acres of public lands.

As the organization’s first project in Utah, The Wilderness Land Trust is working to acquire 1,000 acres of private land located northwest of St. George and surrounded on three sides by the Cougar Canyon and Slaughter Creek Wilderness areas and one side by the Dixie National Forest. Upon acquisition, the Trust will donate the land to public ownership.

Using the little-known Section 6 provision of the 1964 Wilderness Act, once donated the properties will become designated wilderness without an act of Congress, adding 1,000 acres of pristine habitat to Utah’s wilderness. 

As tourism and housing markets boom throughout the region, development on private lands adjoining wilderness is one of the biggest threats facing our wild places.

Ecological importance

Located on the southwest edge of the Colorado Plateau, the Cougar Canyon project area includes higher elevation, varying terrain, and important water sources. 

In the hot, arid landscape of southern Utah, this makes Cougar Canyon crucial habitat for climate resilience.

Only 50 miles from the crowds of Zion National Park, the Cougar Canyon project area , which does not include developed recreation infrastructure, is refuge for wildlife and natural resources as recreation pressure continues to grows on nearby public lands.

Join Us

$1.3 M Fundraising Goal

Your generous contribution will bring us one step closer to reaching our fundraising goal to purchase and transfer the properties to public ownership.

Join us in protecting 1,000 acres of new Utah wilderness, ensuring wildlife has room to roam, critical resources are preserved, connectivity between public lands is expanded, and public access is ensured for future generations.

Project Partners

Thank you to our partners for making this project possible!