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The Project: Preserve United States Wilderness
[These projects are no longer active]

Our United States Wilderness projects:
· U.S. Western Wilderness
· Palmyra Atoll and Reef

U.S. Western Wilderness


Thousands of acres of private lands remain in our congressionally designated wilderness areas. These lands are at risk of development --- development which will destroy the wilderness character of the surrounding protected public lands. By purchasing these lands and returning them to public ownership The Wilderness Land Trust helps ensure that all generations of Americans will enjoy an enduring resource of wilderness.

Contributions help buy land in wilderness areas throughout the American West. Once these lands are purchased and returned to public ownership they can no longer be mined, logged, roaded or developed, and the adjacent wilderness areas will remain pristine and available to all.

Since its inception in 1992, The Trust has protected 345 parcels, comprising more than 31,000 acres of wilderness in 76 designated and proposed wilderness areas.

For more information: www.wildernesslandtrust.org

 
American Wilderness


[ Picture, Big Tree ]


Palmyra Atoll and Reef

© Robert Shallenberger "Palmyra is a jewel of America's Pacific coral reefs. It should be protected from exploitation and be a place where future generations can for all time marvel at the pristine natural wonders of the nation's tropical seas."
-Former Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt

The Palmyra Atoll is a thousand miles south of Hawaii, an untold distance from civilization. It is the last intact marine wilderness in the U.S. tropics. Its pristine waters harbor five times as many coral species as the Florida Keys, and its shores offer one of the few nesting areas for seabirds within 450,000 square miles. Palmyra's 54 islets offer a relatively untouched sanctuary to many species.

© The Nature Conservancy    © J. E. MARAGOS

At one time, Palmyra was proposed to become a nuclear waste dump. To preserve Palmyra's biological diversity, The Nature Conservancy recentlyprotected the atoll for $37 million, including endowment and infrastructure costs. Many Nature Conservancy members have made donations to help repay the loans that enabled the purchase and to secure Palmyra's long-term protection. Still, millions more must be raised. Please help.

Animals
The main visitors to uninhabited Palmyra are seabirds - the atoll is the only nesting area available within 450,000 square miles of ocean. More than a million nesting seabirds come here to rest. Palmyra's nesting species include the world's second-largest colony of red-footed boobies, brown boobies, masked boobies, white terns, and sooty terns. The rare shore bird, the bristle thighed curlew, is also seen on Palmyra.

© Mark Rauzon    © Robert Shallenberger

Palmyra's unusual submerged coral reefs jut seaward for miles beyond the islets. With more than 130 species, the atoll's reefs support three times the number of coral species found in the Caribbean and Hawaii and five times the number of species found in the Florida Keys. Palmyra's biodiversity holds great promise for future generations as scientists look to coral for potential cures and new medicines.

Palmyra's waters teem with wildlife, including species that are being wiped out in other parts of the world. Endangered Hawaiian monk seals have been reported here. Pods of dolphins swim outside the reefs. Other species at Palmyra include manta rays, mullets, fusiliers, snappers, green and hawksbill sea turtles, bumphead parrotfish, pilot whales, humphead wrasses, sharks, other rays, jacks, goat-fish, tuna, butterflyfish, damselfish, surgeonfish, rare giant clams, black-lipped pearl shells, and pen shells. In addition, healthy populations of bonefish occupy the shallow lagoon flats.

© Robert Shallenberger    © Robert Shallenberger

Palmyra also hosts the coconut crab, the worlds largest land invertebrate, which is able to husk and devour coconuts. Many green sea turtles, a threatened species, have been seen in the lagoons and rare hawksbill sea turles are also seen regularly.

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