The Wilderness Act of 1964

Learn about the contents of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and its impact on managing a wilderness area.

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The Wilderness Stewardship Planning Framework (WSPF) is composed of eight different but related components. Each component will be taught in a separate module, although the process of developing an actual framework is likely to be iterative rather than linear. Activities, a short review of what you have learned, and a practice test will conclude each module.

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Course Schedule

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed.

Elements of the course

  • Informational text
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Videos
  • Supplemental reference materials
  • Final assessment

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Course Chapters

  • Wilderness Defined
  • Wilderness Character
  • Prohibited Uses
  • Special Provisions
  • Inholdings
  • Gifts, Bequests, and Contributions
  • Stewardship Principles

Be able to:

  • Define "wilderness."
  • Explain the purpose of the Wilderness Act of 1964.
  • Identify the five qualities of "wilderness character."
  • State the 10 prohibited uses of wilderness.
  • Recognize the various exceptions to these prohibitions.
  • Describe the "special provisions" made by the Act.

Recommended Background

No additional background knowledge or skills are required for this course.


InteractiveReview by Mary
Great use of interactive modules with embedded youtube videos. I learned a lot and enjoyed the format. (Posted on 5/27/2020)
Good review of the wilderness systemReview by Rebekah
Overall I thought this to be a good review of the wilderness system. (Posted on 4/15/2020)
Good ReviewReview by Cody
This is a pretty good overview however, the quiz is HARD. (Posted on 4/1/2020)
Very good online version of the courseReview by Francis
This was, overall, a very good overview of the Wilderness Act and while it may not replace classroom learning, I thought it was very well-rounded and informative. Would recommend! (Posted on 3/30/2020)
good overviewReview by Alliyah
This course offers information on every part of the act; not in full detail but in thorough detail. I liked that there were citations and examples offered. (Posted on 3/26/2020)
a very good learning experienceReview by Peter
makes you really appreciate the wilderness act of 1964 (Posted on 2/24/2020)
Good courseReview by Kim
It took me a few times. Unsure of a couple of questions but will bring that to my training. (Posted on 1/25/2020)
Good CourseReview by Laura
Great information to be aware of when you are working with a land management agency. (Posted on 12/20/2019)
Pretty goodReview by Mary
Been a while since I took this class- don't remember much but I know it's helped me (Posted on 12/15/2019)
Good Review of Wilderness ActReview by Chad
Information was clear and concise. Need a link to the assessment at the end of the learning objectives. (Posted on 9/5/2019)
Good overview of the ActReview by Lance
Excellent comprehensive review. Some questions are tricky Give yourself plenty of time to review the material.

(Posted on 8/27/2019)
Good source of information on the Wilderness ActReview by Kal
Overall, this is a thorough and comprehensive summary of the Wilderness Act. It doesn't go into a significant amount of depth or specifics, but it does give an overarching explanation and framework of the Act. (Posted on 7/3/2019)
equal rightsReview by Robot i8
Robots in opposition to wilderness. (Posted on 5/7/2019)
Overall did the jobReview by David
Good balance of info and time needed to take the course. (Posted on 5/5/2019)
Good CourseReview by Molly
Good review of the Wilderness Act (Posted on 4/30/2019)
GoodReview by J
good (Posted on 4/30/2019)
good stuffReview by Jandi
lots of good info and glad it is free but I want to be able to look back and review answers at another time so I can graduate college. (Posted on 4/30/2019)
Great CourseReview by Roger
This course is designed to orient new employees to the basics of The Wilderness Act of 1964. But, I found there are some great insights and thought provoking narratives from lifelong Wilderness professionals that could benefit anyone taking the course. I look forward to discussing the objectives of this course with my employees. Thanks to all involved! (Posted on 4/19/2019)
Ok ClassReview by Brandon
I thought it was a good overview of basic Wilderness Act concepts. I wished more visual aids were built into each chapters. The timeline was great and the identify the images was wonderful. Too many tricky questions in the Assessment! (Posted on 4/18/2019)
Great classReview by Kelli
It was a challenge, which means I actually learned something new.... (Posted on 4/10/2019)
Excellent CourseReview by Denise
Clear, concise and easy to follow. Great summary of the pertinent aspects of the Wilderness Act of 1964. (Posted on 4/3/2019)
trick questionsReview by Ian
Too many trick questions! (Posted on 9/29/2018)
Good course overallReview by AB
The course content was good but could have flowed in a better way to connect concepts together better. I felt like I was constantly clicking back and forth on tabs. (Posted on 5/14/2018)
Excellent Introduction to the Wilderness Act of 1964Review by Tobias
I would highly recommend this to anybody who works for one of the four public land management agencies and to individuals who would like to learn more about wilderness preservation in the United States. (Posted on 4/29/2018)
Well worth itReview by Lee
I learned a lot and this was a great introduction for me (Posted on 4/6/2018)
All questions answeredReview by Robert
I am a new intern for the Forest Service and have been taking several of you free courses (will eventually be taking some paid ones also). I find that all of these courses so far (save for the webcasts) do a great job of addressing questions as they appear. Many times I pause the course to google a definition only to find that the next page of the course has already provided it.

Great overview of the Wilderness act, how it came to be, the roll of congress, what is prohibited and why, exceptions to prohibitions, and much more. All of this information is easy to follow, well organized, and they keep me coming back to learn more. (Posted on 2/21/2018)
OKReview by Ruth
I found it informative and generally explained things well. It was not an enrapturing topic and I had difficulty staying focused at times. (Posted on 1/23/2018)
Good courseReview by Marzanne
Good presentation of information. Easy to understand and constructed in a logical and informative way. Thoroughly enjoyed the course, just disappointed in the presentation of the certificate of achievement, as the date completely covers the director's signature. (Posted on 1/5/2018)
Good classReview by Corey
Great class to learn the basics on Wilderness and why it is important. flowed nicely and made learning and remembering lessons easy! (Posted on 10/6/2017)
Good IntroReview by William
Nicely balanced between technical and non-technical information. Great Introduction to the topic. (Posted on 8/1/2017)

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