Who We Are
Who We Are
ALWRI's vision is "a world where science, wilderness, and relationships between all people and wild lands thrive." In support of this goal, we strive to be the premier institution for wilderness stewardship research, nationally and internationally. We intend to be the focal point for scientists and managers from different disciplines and backgrounds who seek to conduct, communicate, and learn about research that addresses the challenges of wilderness stewardship. We recognize that wilderness means different things to different people. Our research, research application, and knowledge-sharing programs honor and acknowledge the breadth of these meanings.
The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (ALWRI), part of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, Research and Development, Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), is an interagency, national research facility located on campus at the University of Montana. ALWRI is the only federal research group in the United States dedicated to development and dissemination of knowledge needed to steward the nearly 112-million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS), all 800+ units managed by two Departments and four agencies, from Puerto Rico to Alaska. Operating continuously since 1967 and established as an interagency facility in 1993 to serve as a “model for integrated research and management to advance the understanding of the social, cultural, and ecological significance of wilderness and wildlands”, we have a long history of conducting and sharing science in support of the NWPS. To this end, we collaborate with management, Tribal, academic, non-governmental organizations, community, and other partners within the United States and internationally.
ALWRI's core work is interagency. This is, in part, because in addition to being administered by the RMRS, our work intends to address the research needs of an Interagency Wilderness Policy Council. This relationship is defined by an interagency agreement among the USDA Forest Service, and the Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Park Service (NPS), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Further, the ALWRI serves on an Interagency Wilderness Steering Committee (IWSC), a coordinating body that provides a mechanism for wilderness science to be cooperatively shared with federal wilderness managers. These collaborations help to ensure that our work is relevant to and shared with managers across all agencies in the NPWS.