WILDERNESS MAPS AND LEGAL DESCRIPTIONS:
THEIR STATUS IN THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM
February 1, 2013
Congress designated or included wilderness within 52 areas of the national park system by twenty-one separate statutes, enacted between 1970 and 2009. The wording of each statute varies but every statute, except for five park areas, requires that a written legal description and a map of wilderness be submitted to Congress. The National Park Service (NPS) has substantially complied with this statutory mandate for many parks that contain wilderness. Yet, the law remains unfulfilled in several parks. Wilderness in the latter parks is deprived of the security afforded by clearly defined boundaries.
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