Wilderness Recommendation Process

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 and resource 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. A timeline for the wilderness recommendation process can be found hereFurther information on the steps of the Wilderness Recommendation Process can be found in Chapter 70 of the Land Management Planning Handbook. 

Wilderness Criteria
Chapter 70 of the Land Management Planning Handbook outlines specific criteria to be used throughout the Wilderness Recommendation Process. This criteria will be further defined by resource specialist and public engagement throughout the process. 

Feedback from the June 2017 Public Meetings on the preliminary wilderness criteria has been incorporated. The draft inventory and evaluation criteria is available for review! 
Your feedback on the draft criteria is most useful by August 9th, 2017.

Comments on the criteria can be submitted by email to tontoplan@fs.fed.us or by mail to: 
Tonto National Forest
c/o Forest Plan Revision
2324 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
Superstition Wilderness, Tonto National Forest

For more information check out our "Understanding the Wilderness Recommendation Process" handout or this video produced by the Carson National Forest!