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The Wilderness Act (Pub. L. 88–577), signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 3, 1964, established the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Concern for the loss of wildland led to the formation of the Wilderness Society in 1935. Organized by Robert Marshall, Aldo Leopold, Robert Sterling Yard, and others, the Wilderness Society began a movement to protect the nation's remaining roadless wildlands. The construction of roads and highways in national parks and national forests, often as part of New Deal employment programs, fragmented tracts of wildland and opened them to development.
At the urging of Leopold, the U.S. Forest Service had administratively established the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico in 1924. In 1929, it adopted the L-20 Regulation, which authorized the creation of “primitive” and “canoe” ...