RM-CESU National Theme: Wilderness; Photo: Cottonwood Canyon WildernessThe Rocky Mountains are home to millions of acres of wilderness and other protected areas. Wilderness has a variety of functions, including providing opportunities for solitude and primitive and unconfined forms of recreation, preservation of biological diversity, and opportunities for research in relatively undisturbed ecosystems. However, wilderness often is controversial, and study of it and its uses and the study of conflicts surrounding it are important. Knowledgeable managers and citizens are needed to sustain wilderness and its many values.

Research and education related to wilderness ecosystems  and values occur at the interagency Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, and the wilderness centers  at the universities of Idaho and Montana. The RM-CESU offers the expertise of these partners in providing the science, education, and training necessary for wilderness stewardship, both regionally and nationally.


RM-CESU research, technical assistance, and education activities focus on issues

necessary to sustain wilderness and wilderness values.


Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute is the only Federal research group in the United States dedicated to the development and dissemination of knowledge needed to improve management of wilderness, parks and similarly protected areas.

Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center

Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center missions is to preserve the values and benefits of wilderness for present and future generations by connecting agency employees and the public with their wilderness heritage through training, information and education.

Taylor Wilderness Research Station, University of Idaho

Embedded within the heart of the Frank Church--River of No Return Wilderness is a one-of-a-kind venue for scientific discovery. This facility allows the opportunity to explore social, political, and economic implications on ecological processes in a wilderness context. Surrounded by 2.39 million acres of wilderness in central Idaho, the station provides outstanding access, facilities, and logistical support for research on natural environments.

Wilderness Institute, University of Montana

The Wilderness Institute provides students, agencies and the public with information, education and an understanding of the issues and social and ecological values of wilderness.

Wilderness Management Distance Education Program, University of Montana

The Wilderness Management Distance Education Program offers accredited university courses for a comprehensive study of wilderness management. WMDEP is a valuable too for understanding the wilderness resource and the issues surrounding its management

Wilderness Connect, University of Montana

The Wilderness Connect educates hundreds of thousands of visitors each year about wilderness and the value of public lands preservation. The website houses the only officially-recognized, national database of all Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and National Park Service wilderness areas. Not only does it serve as the definitive digital source for wilderness acreage, area descriptions, and GIS boundaries, Wilderness Connect works directly with wilderness management agencies to provide other important place-specific information to the recreating public, such as regulations, trip planning tips and volunteer opportunities. In addition to learning about specific wilderness areas, Wilderness Connect brings alive the history of the wilderness ethic, important and influential personalities, the values and benefits of wilderness, threats to wilderness and more through interactive examples, tools and maps.