Monday, October 19, 2009

Wilderness Weekend Sat 10/27/2009

Wilderness Weekend
Saturday October 17, 2009

Most of Old Rag's Ridge and Saddle trails lie within designated wilderness areas.

This was Wilderness Weekend and on Saturday PATC Trail Patrol members arrived at the Pinnacles Research Station and started their day making signs. After this they broke up into groups in order to cover Dickey Ridge, Skyland, and Big Meadows. Because of the weather the activities were moved inside this year. In good weather we set up at various overlooks. With my Old Rag obsession I did my outreach at the Old Rag fee station.

It is surprising the number of folks you meet who do not know about our designated wilderness areas.

The following is a great resource when you have questions about our designated wilderness areas.

Getting signs ready for Wilderness Weekend at Pinnacles Research Station.

My Old Rag Wilderness Weekend duty station.



Creation and Growth of the National Wilderness Preservation SystemWhen the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, 54 areas (9.1 million acres) in 13 states were designated as wilderness. This law established these areas as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Since 1964, the NWPS has grown almost every year and now includes 756 areas (109,492,591 acres) in 44 states and Puerto Rico. In 1980, the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) added over 56 million acres of wilderness to the system, the largest addition in a single year. 1984 marks the year when the most new wilderness areas were added. Think you know a lot about the NWPS? You can also test your knowledge by taking one of our quizzes.
Fast Facts at a Glance
Number of Wilderness Areas756 wilderness areas
Total Wilderness Acreage109,492,591 acres
Smallest WildernessPelican Island Wilderness, northern Florida (6 acres) (Note: Until recently the Rocks and Islands Wilderness in northern California was thought to be the smallest wilderness, however, recent Bureau of Land Management acreage measurements put it at 19 acres instead of 5 acres.)
Largest WildernessWrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness, Alaska (9,078,675 acres)
Largest Wilderness complex (contiguous Wilderness acreage)Noatak and Gates of the Arctic Wildernesses, Alaska (12,743,329 acres)
Largest Wilderness complex (contiguous Wilderness acreage) in the contiguous United StatesFrank Church-River of No Return and Gospel-Hump Wildernesses, Idaho (2,572,553 acres)
Second largest Wilderness complex (contiguous Wilderness acreage) in the contiguous United StatesWildernesses in central California consisting of the southern half of the Yosemite Wilderness and the Ansel Adams, Dinkey Lakes, John Muir, Monarch, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Golden Trout, and South Sierra Wildernesses (2,241,439 acres)
States with the most WildernessesCalifornia, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado
States with the most Wilderness acresAlaska, California, Arizona, Washington, Idaho
States with no WildernessesConnecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Rhode Island
Agency managing the most WildernessesForest Service
Agency managing the most Wilderness acresNational Park Service
Newest WildernessesOn 3/30/09 President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public law 111-11) into law. This law designates 52 new wilderness areas and adds acreage to 26 existing areas, a total addition to the NWPS of over 2 million acres. Some, but not all, of these areas are pictured on's maps. You can view a list of these areas with links to more infromation about them.
Trivia QuestionHow many designated Wildernesses does the Appalachian National Scenic Trail traverse? Answer: 21

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