back to top

15 Wild Places In America That Will Make You Say, "I Want To Go To There"

These places are wild, breathtaking, and under serious risk of being ruined by drilling. Check out the Too Wild To Drill list to learn what you can do to protect these unique places.

Posted on

1. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

© Arto Saari (Appeal to Reason Media) / Via The Wilderness Society

The indigenous Gwich’in people who live on this land call the area "The Sacred Place Where Life Begins." Trimble Gilbert — the traditional chief of Arctic Village, a Gwich’in community — says the protection of these lands is essential for his people to survive. "To my people, wilderness is not a luxury or indulgence. It is a necessity," he says. Gilbert also says protecting these lands from oil and gas development is a matter of human rights.

2. Paradise Valley, Montana

William Campbell / Via The Wilderness Society

Back in 1872, Yellowstone became America's first national park because of its rare and extraordinary value. Millions of tourists visit Yellowstone National Park each year, and Paradise Valley is the northern gateway to the park. As a result, tourism is a lifeblood for many businesses in the area. Those jobs could be at risk, however, if two foreign mining companies have their way and start degrading the area's natural beauty.

3. Northern Red Desert, Wyoming

Scott Copeland / Via The Wilderness Society

This striking Wyoming landmark is home to elk, mule deer, and antelope. It's also a piece of American history. The Oregon Trail runs right through here. Now that the Trump administration is prioritizing oil and gas development, the Red Desert is in danger of having some of its protections taken away.

6. Green River Valley, Washington

Michael Sulis / Via The Wilderness Society

The Forest Service became the stewards of this remarkable wilderness with the express purpose of preserving the beauty and ecological integrity of the Green River, which flows right into Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Now, a Canadian mining company's efforts to conduct exploratory drilling could pollute the Green River.

7. Mojave Trails National Monument, California

Bob Wick, BLM / Via The Wilderness Society

The sweeping dunes of the Mojave Trails National Monument aren't just pleasing to the eye and soothing to the soul, they are also home to sites of historical importance, including World War II–era training camps and the longest undeveloped stretch of Route 66 in the country. That has not stopped the Trump Administration from trying to remove protections on the area that keep harmful mining and groundwater drilling at bay.

8. The Appalachian Trail, Virginia

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy / Via The Wilderness Society

The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest hiking trails in the world, and it has three million visitors a year. Those three million visitors would be very disappointed to hear that the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline would ruin scenic vistas by cutting right across the trail in Virginia.

9. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Mason Cummings / Via The Wilderness Society

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is important to paleontologists and dinosaur-lovers alike for the paleontological discoveries that continue to be made there. The area is also a target for the coal-mining industry. Now, Utah politicians that oppose conservation of public land in their state are lobbying the Trump Administration to remove protections for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

11. North Fork Gunnison River, Colorado

Jim Brett / Via The Wilderness Society

The North Fork of the Gunnison River is not just a striking landscape. It is also home to Colorado's highest concentration of organic farms. Potential oil and gas drilling in the area could pollute the area's water and threaten these small businesses. Local orchard owner Jeff Schwartz notes, “Anything that threatens the safety of our food crops threatens everything we do.”

12. Owyhee Desert Sagebrush, Nevada

Bob Wick, BLM / Via The Wilderness Society

Nevada’s Owyhee Desert Sagebrush is home to one of the American West's most iconic birds: the sage-grouse. Perhaps one of the most eye-catching things about the bird is its unusual mating dance. Trust us, you'll want to look this one up. Regardless of the species' dance moves, efforts to keep them off the endangered species list are under threat now that the Trump Administration is considering boosting energy development by reducing protections for sagebrush habitat.

13. Wayne National Forest, Ohio

Rebecca Pollard / Via The Wilderness Society

A quarter of a million people hike through Wayne National Forest each year. But those hikes could be cut short, as the Bureau of Land Management is allowing leasing for oil and gas drilling on 40,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest.

14. Greater Grand Canyon Watershed, Arizona

Jessica Pope / Via The Wilderness Society

This watershed, which stretches across the land both north and south of the Grand Canyon itself, contains more than 3,000 documented Native American archaeological sites. There is a 20-year ban on new mining claims in the area. But now there are attempts to roll back that moratorium and open the area to uranium mining.

15. Chihuahuan Desert Rivers, New Mexico

Jim O'Donnell, Courtesy of New Mexico Wilderness Alliance / Via The Wilderness Society

The rivers of the Chihuahuan Desert are home to several endangered species. The area's underground, sensitive cave ecosystems may also be home to yet-undiscovered species. Despite all of this, the area is under threat from rampant oil and gas drilling. The Carlsbad area, just north of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, is expected to see 800 new oil and gas wells per year moving forward.

These are some of America's best wild spaces, and they're under threat of being mined and drilled into oblivion. Read the Too Wild To Drill list to learn more, then use the tool below to call your legislators to protect these unique, wild lands.