The Wilderness Act of 1964 describes wilderness as:
“an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean . . . an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions ”
As part of forest plan revision under the 2012 planning rule, forests are required to identify lands that may or may not be suitable to recommend to Congress for new Wilderness designation as part of the revision of their land management plan (Forest Plan). The planning process may or may not result in recommendations for additional Wilderness on the Tonto. The important thing to remember is that only Congress can designate Wilderness.
The process occurs in four primary steps: Inventory, Evaluation, Analysis and Recommendation. Further information on the steps of the Wilderness Process can be found in Chapter 70 of the Land Management Handbook.