Sequoia Wilderness

Wilderness designation has been used to lock up millions of acre of land from multiple use. Wilderness offers little protection to the land that did not exist without Wilderness protection, but it does lock out a large segment of the public from public land.
In 1905 there were 83 forest reserves which had increased to 155 National Forests and 20 National Grasslands by 2005. The total number of acres preserved as open space by the Forest Service has increased from 63 million acres in 1905 to 192 million acres in 2005.  
Yet the vast majority of the public recreate on non Wilderness multiple use lands, so reducing multiple use lands forces more people to recreate in smaller areas.
As our country converts more and more land into Wilderness Areas, Conservation Areas, Scenic Areas, National Monuments and other restrictive designations it is becoming increasingly harder for the average recreationist to find a place to simply enjoy open space. It is not that we need more open space protected, it is that access to more and more acres of the country is being cut off to all but the hardiest backpacker. The person who has the health, the affluence and the ability to schedule their time in order meet the restrictions, not only of climatic conditions, but seasonal closures of areas.
In 2015 Stewards of the Sequoia submitted a proposal for three minor Wilderness Boundary adjustments that would restore 70 miles of multiple use loop trails. The tips of these loop trails were cut off by arbitrary Wilderness boundaries making these trails out and back dead ends, which has needlessly increased impacts on these trails and reduced enjoyment. READ STEWARDS PROPOSAL HERE
In 2020 the Forest Service is in the process of determining if they should recommend more of the remaining small amount of multiple use lands 225,266 acres for Wilderness
Stewards of the Sequoia have urged the Forest Service NOT to recommend any areas for consideration as Wilderness based on the many reasons we provide in our comment letter.
Designated Wilderness Areas have grown exponentially in size since the creation of the Wilderness Act, encompassing over 110 million acres of public lands today. Most people would agree that designating some lands under this most restrictive of all land use classifications was appropriate. However today areas on public lands are being considered for recommendation and even designated which do not meet the original intent of the Wilderness Act for these lands to be untouched by the hand of man. CLICK HERE TO READ STEWARDS COMMENT LETTER

How much Wilderness is designated in California.   (According to
Currently, California contains approximately 14 million acres of federal wilderness. This includes six million acres managed by the National Park Service, 4.4 million acres managed by the Forest Service, and 3.6 million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
How much Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest  (these are the best approximate numbers available from Forest Service)
  • About 1.1 million total acres
  • About 322,314 acres are locked up in Current Wilderness
  • About 224,651 acres are designated as Roadless areas & were unsuccessfully proposed in 2003 as additional wilderness on Sequoia National Forest & adjacent BLM lands
  • Recent Giant Sequoia Monument 327,769 acres
Add it all up Wilderness & Monument 874,734 acres of public land in Sequoia National Forest no longer allows multiple use 
Which leaves leaves 22% or 225,266 acres for multiple use out of the 1.1 million acre Sequoia National Forest, Land of Many uses.

Current Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest:
  • Dome Land 94,509
  • Golden Trout 111,267
  • Kiavah 43,803
  • Monarch 23,917
  • South Sierra 28,734
  • Jennie Lakes 10,564
  • Bright Star BLM 9,520
  • Total Existing Desinated Wilderness 322,314
In the past there have been efforts to propose more Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest which would take away from multiple use lands and prohibit the vast majority of the public from enjoying these public lands
  • Bright Star 49,984
  • Dome Land 73,540
  • Golden Trout 101,127
  • Total proposed Wildnerness 224,651
Leaving 615 acres of lands for multiple use where the majority of the public recreate

Sequoia Roadless Areas Report drafted by Stewards of the Sequoia presenting the facts on why these areas should remain open to multiple use CLICK HERE TO READ

Wilderness - 56 areas in 15 million acres (66% of FS land in CA)
Wild & Scenic Rivers - 13 designated rivers totaling 1,070 miles (25% of FS national total)

Wilderness - Approximately 109 million acres are designated as wilderness in the United States. This accounts for over 5% of the total land of the country; however, 54% of wilderness is in Alaska, and only 2.58% of the continental United States is designated as wilderness. Wikipedia Encyclopedia 2004
Update 2006- Additional Wilderness bills land off limits to most of the public to 104 million acres of designated Wilderness on public land in the continental United States. This is equal to the land mass of the states of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania combined. 273,000 acres of additional wilderness has been designated so far in 2006 and additional wilderness designation proposals are making their way through Congress.

Update 2009- New Wilderness bills designate 52 new Wilderness areas and enlarge 26 existing ones

Wilderness Facts at a Glance
  • Number of Wilderness Areas 756 wilderness areas
  • Total Wilderness Acreage 109,492,939 acres
  • Smallest Wilderness - Pelican 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 Wilderness - Wrangell-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 States - Frank 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 States - Wildernesses 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 Wildernesses - California, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado
  • States with the most Wilderness acres - Alaska, California, Arizona, Washington, Idaho
  • States with no Wildernesses - Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Rhode Island
  • Agency managing the most Wildernesses - Forest Service
  • Agency managing the most Wilderness acres - National Park Service
  • Newest Wildernesses - On 3/30/09 President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public law 111-11) into law. This law designated 52 new wilderness areas and added acreage to 26 existing areas, a total addition to the NWPS of over 2 million acres. All these new areas are now pictured on's maps. You can also view a list of all areas affected by Public Law 111-11 with links to more information about them.

Below are the Wilderness acreage figures for each agency from

Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management manages about 270 million acres, 7,796,837 of which are Wilderness. Among other activities, the Bureau conserves these lands and their historical and cultural resources for the public's use and enjoyment.

Fish and Wildlife Service
The Fish and Wildlife Service conserves the nation's wild animals and their habitats by managing a system of more than 500 national wildlife refuges and other areas, totaling about 91 million acres of land and water, 20,730,636 of which are Wilderness.

Forest Service
The Forest Service manages national forests and grasslands. It conducts forestry research and works with forest managers on state and private lands. The Forest Service oversees nearly 200 million acres of national forest and other lands, 35,372,522 of which are Wilderness.

National Park Service
The National Park Service was established to protect the nation's natural, historical, and cultural resources and to provide places for recreation. The Park Service manages 51 national parks and more than 300 national monuments, historic sites, memorials, seashores, and battlefields. It oversees 43,536,647 acres of Wilderness.