The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812
The Gila Wilderness now contains a total of 558,014 acres and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. All of the wilderness is in the state of New Mexico.
Public land becomes wilderness through legislation passed by the United States Congress in the form of public laws. For the Gila Wilderness, this process began in 1964 when 438,360 acres were designated by Public Law 88-577. The following public laws also affect the Gila Wilderness: 96-550.
The Gila Wilderness is part of the 106 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of wild lands contributes significantly to the ecological, economic, and social health of our country. Wilderness provides clean air and water, a shelter for endangered species, sacred places for indigenous peoples, a living laboratory for research, and a classroom for exploring personal values while experiencing risk, reward, and self-reliance. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude.
Unless otherwise specified, no motorized equipment or mechanical transport is allowed. This is true for all federal lands managed as designated wilderness.
Leave No Trace principles:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors