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Protecting Public Lands and Recreation

Americans share ownership of approximately 650 million acres of land and water in the United States. These public-owned lands or “public lands” are our national forests, parks, wildlife refuges, monuments, wilderness areas, Bureau of Land Management land and rangeland and are a uniquely American legacy.

Public lands provide habitat for valuable wildlife, including over 600 sensitive or threatened fish, wildlife and plant species. These places also are valuable areas for sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts to recreate.

Working for American Sportsmen

The National Wildlife Federation staff, partners and affiliates, and supporters work to preserve these areas for the wildlife and people who depend on them through several different campaigns and initiatives.

Restoring Bison to Montana's Northern Great Plains


By 1900, all of Montana’s big game species had been nearly exterminated. But through historic conservation efforts—led primarily by sportsmen like Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell—iconic wildlife species like elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn and deer were restored to their native habitats. The one big game species for which significant restoration has not occurred on the Northern Great Plains is bison.

Sportsmen remain an extremely potent political force in Montana. Over 20 percent of Montanans take to the field each year—the highest participation rate in the country. A study conducted in 2008 by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership concluded the CMR is the single most popular hunting area in the state.

Advocating for Healthy Public Lands
Created by National Wildlife Federation, is a place for hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to get information about the public lands where they enjoy their favorite activities. The website provides information on public lands issues of both national and state significance ranging from oil shale development to protecting wildlife migration corridors.

Encouraging Renewable Energy
The National Wildlife Federation is dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on America's public lands. The National Wildlife Federation has united with sportsmen, state and federal officials and private sector partners to remove barriers to transition to a clean energy economy and to guide renewable energy production away from critical environmental areas.

Read the Report: Valuing Our Western Public Lands: Safeguarding Our Economy and Way of Life

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