Your Source for Wilderness Updates

Photo: Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in the Gila Wilderness (NPS)


Website for the 60th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

Wilderness Connect is hosting a website to coordinate information, messaging, logos, and events for the 60th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act this year. Explore the page: To add an event to the list, or to suggest content to include, email

Wilderness Leadership Updates

We are pleased to welcome Jimmy Gaudry to his detail as Acting Director at the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. We extend our gratitude to Dusty Vaughn for his excellent service, who detailed as Acting Director prior to Jimmy.

Congratulations to Jason Taylor on his new position as the Superintendent at Indiana Dunes National Park, and to Teresa Hollingsworth for stepping into the role of Interim Director at the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute.

Gila Wilderness Centennial Anniversary

Many events celebrating the 100th birthday of the Gila Wilderness are coming up in the next few months. Check out the Gila National Forest webpage to learn more!

Funding Opportunity for Wilderness Studies in Montana

The Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana invites proposals for the Matthew Hansen Endowment for Wilderness Studies. The Endowment funds projects that promote the protection, enhancement, and understanding of wilderness, the value of conservation and preservation of wildlands, and the protection of wilderness resources in Montana. Proposals for creative scholarship in the domains of history, creative writing, the arts, Native American studies, environmental studies, journalism, conservation, and others are welcome. This opportunity is open to individuals: students, faculty, staff, and individuals without an academic or institutional affiliation. All projects must have a clear tie to wilderness and wildlands and proposals should clearly explain how the proposed work meets the eligibility criteria. Awards range from $500 to $6500. Apply by April 19.


Place and Leisure Identity Positively Influences Wildland Stewardship

Elena Thomas, Wilderness and Recreation Data Management Specialist for the Forest Service, and several co-authors recently published her University of Montana master's research about The Effect of Place Attachment and Leisure Identity on Wildland Stewardship.” The study took place in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness in Missoula, MT, and investigates the impact of place attachment and leisure identity on wildland stewardship behavior. It reveals that place identity significantly influences proactive stewardship engagement, while leisure identity predicts involvement in Leave-No-Trace behaviors among recreationists. These findings underscore the necessity of tailored messaging strategies targeting identity and the importance of forming partnerships with recreation organizations to foster stewardship and community engagement in land management efforts.

Thomas, E., Rice, W., Armatas, C., & Thomsen, J. (2024). The Effect of Place Attachment and Leisure Identity on Wildland Stewardship. Leisure Sciences, 1–21.


2024 Regional Course Schedule with the Carhart Center

Regional courses with the Carhart Center are designed specifically to take a deeper look into topics of relevance to the region of the course. The courses include formal presentations, group discussions, case studies and a field trip into a local wildland area. See upcoming courses below, and click here for more information and to register.

Silver City, New Mexico

May 13-16

Silver City, New Mexico add-on

half-day workshop

May 17

Missoula, Montana

September 16-19

Marion, Illinois

October 7-10

Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute

Registration is open for the Northern Rockies Wilderness Field Institute at the Powell Ranger Station in Idaho from May 20-24th, 2024. Course offerings include Wilderness and Trails Foundations, Wilderness First Aid/CPR, Field Leadership Development, Advanced Trails Skills, Crosscut A/B, and more. Visit the Wilderness Skills Institute website to register.

Contact us! We appreciate your engagement.

Heidi Blair, Wildlands Communications Coordinator, 406-243-6950

University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

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