ate in Point Reyes National Seashore is subject to the U.S. Wilderness Act (P.L. 88-577, Sep. 3, 1964), which defines Wilderness as follows:

A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.


(16 U.S.C. 1131-1136, section 2©)

Regarding prohibited and permitted uses of Wilderness areas, the Wilderness Act states:

Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.


(16 U.S.C. 1131-1136, section 4©)

The Wilderness Act goes on to make special provisions regarding use: “the use of aircraft or motorboats, where these uses have already become established, may be permitted to continue subject to such restrictions as the Secretary of Agriculture deems desirable” (16 U.S.C. 1131-1136, section 4(d)(1)) and “[c]ommercial services may be performed within the wilderness areas designated by this Act to the extent necessary for activities which are proper for realizing the recreational or other wilderness purposes of the areas” (16 U.S.C. 1131-1136, section 4(d)(6)).


The Wilderness Act was amended as follows in the Point Reyes Wilderness Act of 1976 (PL 94-544, Oct. 18, 1976):



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