Explore Wild California
Explore every area of California and the marvelous landscapes and adventure each has to offer:
Why protect wilderness?
Keeping wild land free from logging, mining, and road construction is the best way to provide for the long-term ecological health of the landscape. Roadless areas contain habitat for countless species of imperiled wildlife. These areas also provide clean drinking water for California's citizens and help filter impurities out of the air we breathe.
Wilderness is for people too!
Americans have long recognized the need for wild places in our society and culture. Wilderness is important for backcountry exploration and spiritual renewal. Wilderness areas are important to many of us seeking to escape to the wild for outdoor fun.
Why protect wild rivers?
Wild and Scenic River status protects free-flowing rivers from dams and water diversions that can destroy entire ecosystems. Wilderness designation is critical to watershed protection, but wild and scenic designation is the only way to permanently protect a river from dams.
California benefits from wilderness protection
Currently, more than 48 million acres of land in California are publicly owned. Only 14 million of these acres are currently protected as wilderness, leaving much of the remaining acreage open to mining, logging, and off-road vehicle use. Even if an additional five million acres of wilderness were protected, California would still contain over 25 million acres of federally owned land that remains open to vehicles, mining, and other forms of development.
Our rural economies depend on intact natural landscapes
Many of California's rural regions depend on tourism and recreation to provide a strong economic base. In the Sierra Nevada, for example, recreation provides four times as much economic activity as does national forest logging. Many rural economies that were once dependent on resource extraction are now based on recreation and tourism-activities that depend on healthy, intact ecosystems.
Explore California’s Wilderness in Google Earth!
You can explore existing and potential wilderness areas throughout California from home by saving the following files and loading them into Google Earth:
- Save the above KML files on to your computer.
- Launch Google Earth on your deskptop.
- Go to File> Open and then navigate to where you saved the above files.
- The files will appear in the My Places section on the left hand side of the screen. You will see the boundaries of wilderness areas appear on the map.
- You can change the colors and opacity of the boundaries by right clicking on the file under the My Places directory and clicking properties.
- Here you can change the size, color, and opacity of boundary lines, boundary areas, and labels.
- To disable the Labels, click on the box next to the Labels folder found under each file under the My Places directory.
The above picture from Google Earth shows boundaries of existing wilderness along the California Coast.