Congress this week approved the largest expansion of the wilderness system in 15 years, bestowing federal wilderness protection to 2 million acres in nine states. The bill, which also sets aside President Clinton's childhood home in Hope, AR as a national historic site, cleared the Senate last week and passed the House by a 285-140 margin on Wednesday.

The measure protects as wilderness:

  • California – nearly 450,000 acres of wilderness and 73 miles of riverway near Santa Clarita and along the California-Nevada state line, including the White Mountains; 190,000 acres in Riverside County, including parts of Joshua Tree National Park; 70,000 acres that include the new John Krebs Wilderness in the Mineral King Valley.
  • Colorado – nearly 250,000 acres in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, and 66,000 acres of red rock sandstone canyons, cliffs, streams and waterfalls in western Colorado.
  • Idaho –517,000 acres in the Owyhee Canyonlands.
  • Michigan – 11,739 acres at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
  • New Mexico –more than 15,000 acres in San Miguel County.