NWSA Completes Strategic Direction in Preparation for Strategic Planning

During 2022 the NWSA Board has been busy updating our guiding documents and laying the groundwork for NWSA's new strategic plan. The first step in this process has been to develop our Strategic Direction which includes the need or "why" for our work, defines our vision, and identifies the values that will guide both our planning process and our organization as a whole. NWSA's Strategic Direction document was finalized on July 15, 2022 and we look forward to working toward the vision and upholding the values it outlines as we strive to reach our organizational goals. We are so thankful for the excellent work of our guide and facilitator, Amy Stork of Amy Story Consulting who helped us through the visioning process and encouraged us to dive deep, discover and define our vision for the future.

Read NWSA's Strategic Direction

We hope you will take the time to familiarize yourself with it and join us in its implementation. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights:



Our vision is that America’s wilderness and wild places will be stewarded for generations to come through an enduring partnership of public agencies, community-based organizations, and volunteer stewards; and that the benefits of wilderness and wilderness stewardship will be shared equitably.



The future needs wilderness.

Wilderness supports all living things. Wilderness helps safeguard the genetic diversity of flora and fauna, and often acts as a haven for rare and endangered species. With climate change upon us, the future of many species may depend on those few havens where life can progress with minimal intervention.

Wilderness supports people. Many people find joy and awe in a direct connection to wilderness. Wilderness also supports scientific inquiry, environmental education, and outdoor learning, which in turn foster connection to and care for the natural world.

Wilderness supports communities. Whether or not people visit wilderness, nearby communities reap the fruits of wilderness protection and stewardship—clean air; fresh water; vibrant populations of important pollinators, songbirds, and game animals; and the boost wilderness visitors provide to rural economies.

Wilderness needs stewards and advocates.

For America’s federal wilderness areas to offer all these benefits, these landscapes and ecosystems must be protected and cared for, and baseline wilderness values upheld.

The four federal agencies charged with managing federal wilderness are at the core of this work. But they cannot do the job alone. A strong network of stewardship groups and dedicated volunteers is needed to work in partnership with the federal agencies to help care for wilderness throughout the United States, and to advocate for federal funding and levels of staffing needed by the agencies to manage wilderness.

The benefits of wilderness need to be shared equitably.

The legacy and realities of systemic racism and other forms of discrimination mean many people do not receive the full benefits of wilderness. Concerted effort is needed to broaden knowledge of wilderness, create equitable opportunity for people to experience the direct and indirect benefits of wilderness, and make wilderness and wilderness stewardship welcoming and inclusive to all.




We are responsive, helpful, and empathetic to member needs. We actively reach out to our members and partners collectively and individually. We provide others with opportunities to engage in the work of NWSA (such as serving on committees, planning National Wilderness Workshop, and developing resources). We listen, learn, plan together, and ask for feedback. We bridge opportunities rather than being in competition with others. We create community within our own board and staff as we grow, supporting a healthy and positive work environment. We communicate regularly, seek to understand each other, act respectfully, and give each other the benefit of the doubt. We keep each other accountable through clear structure and commitments.

Inclusion and equity

We invite and include people from all backgrounds in NWSA and the wilderness stewardship community. We actively recruit a diverse team of board and staff members that includes people from communities of color and other marginalized groups historically excluded from wilderness stewardship. We apply resources including money and time to our own learning and growth. We are open-minded, question our own cultural values, stretch ourselves to hear and understand other viewpoints, and look for ways to improve ourselves. We acknowledge and recognize the European concept of wilderness, and that belief in this concept is not universal.

Optimism and resourcefulness

We believe the mission is so important that we will always find a way to meet our goals. We operate creatively and optimistically, with open minds. We leverage resource to get a lot done with a little. We act with intention and with expectation of success. We anticipate change by keeping apprised of our role in the larger context and by always thinking about the possibility of what is next. We avoid paralysis, overcome barriers, and look for new ways to reach our goals even when there are setbacks. We clearly communicate our passion and commitment as individuals and as a group.