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Wilderness Laws: Permitted and Prohibited Uses

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Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL33827

Topic: Environment (Parks, nature reserves, and open spaces)

Abstract:

The Wilderness Act generally prohibits commercial activities, motorized uses, and infrastructure developments in congressionally designated wilderness areas. However, the Wilderness Act and many subsequent laws designating wilderness areas also contain provisions authorizing activities that do not conform with these general prohibitions. The general prohibitions and the authorized uses are important because controversies persist over permissible and prohibited activities in wilderness areas, and because bills often seek to modify existing areas or activities.