Press Release

America's Public Land Act introduced to guard against mounting threats

Horseback riders in Gila National Forest, New Mexico.

Gila National Forest, NM

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Proposed legislation would ensure America's public lands remain in public hands

Today U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA47) introduced legislation reaffirming that America’s shared public lands, including national parks and monuments, wildlife refuges, and national forests are irreplaceable treasures that should remain in public hands. The America’s Public Land Act would prohibit any Secretary of the Interior or Agriculture from selling public lands and ban the transfer of management authority to states or other elected officials, except when expressly authorized by Congress.

The bill confronts anti-conservation efforts that began on the fringes of American politics, but have increasingly been channeled into actual policy - as exemplified by the Trump administration's threats to roll back boundaries of national monuments across the country and by the unlawful removal of protected lands within Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

Brad Brooks, Wilderness Society Public Lands Campaign Director, welcomed the bill proposals:

“Public lands belong to all of us. This bill will ensure that they remain open and are never handed over to special interest groups. We applaud Sen. Heinrich and Rep. Lowenthal, for taking a stand to defend America’s shared public lands against those who would sell off our nation’s great treasures.”

The America’s Public Land Act has a wide range of support, including small business owners, faith organizations, wildlife advocates, outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing groups, as well as conservationists. Each year, more than 500 million people visit America's public lands — primarily for outdoor recreation. We must preserve these last wild and beautiful places for all who seek solitude or access to healthy outdoor activities.


  • Senator Martin Henrich (lead sponsor)
  • Senator Michael Bennet
  • Senator Richard Blumenthal
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Senator Jeff Merkley
  • Senator Brian Schatz
  • Senator Jon Tester
  • Senator Tom Udall


  • Rep. Alan Lowenthal (lead sponsor)
  • Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
  • Rep. Judy Chu
  • Rep. Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr.
  • Rep. Jimmy Gomez
  • Rep. Deb Haaland
  • Rep. Jared Huffman
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano
  • Rep. Ed Perlmutter
  • Rep. Mike Quigley
  • Rep. Harley Rouda



  • Brad Brooks, Director, Public Lands Campaign, The Wilderness Society, (208) 350-2079,

  • Andrea Alday, Deputy Director Regional Communications, The Wilderness Society, (818) 512-7628,

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.