About 440 national wilderness areas have been established within the United States. These areas, totaling about 80 million acres, include both magnificent mountain scenery and harsh, yet beautiful, desert landscapes. They are places still little touched by civilization. You see them on foot or horseback or aboard a raft on a white-water river.
Among the grandest of the country's wilderness regions, as cited by national conservation organizations:
*Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana: A pristine mountain country of forested slopes and alpine meadows in the high Montana Rockies. The Bob Marshall is adjacent to Scapegoat and Great Bear wilderness areas, and the three total 1.5 million acres. In this land, says Clif Merritt of the American Wilderness Alliance, roam all the large wild species -- the grizzly among them -- that were there when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through in 1805.
*Owyhee canyonlands and Upcountry, Oregon and Idaho: Part desert, part high plateau and canyonland on Oregon's dry eastern border with Idaho. Not officially designated a wilderness, but under consideration, this one-million-acre region cut by the Owyhee River is home to big horn sheep, mule deer and a variety of birds of prey.
*Gila Wilderness, New Mexico: Semi-arid mountainous country at the headwaters of the Gila River. The realm of elk and deer in stands of ponderosa pine.
*Chichagof Island, Alaska: A wild and beautiful rain forest on the Pacific Coast north of the town of Sitka. Fine salmon-spawning rivers flow down gentle slopes to the sea.
*Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska: Vast mountain, lake and river country in one of the most remote reaches of the United States. It is the home of Alaska's large and famous migratory herd of caribou.
*Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho: Two million acres of rugged mountains, sky-blue lakes and the spectacular Middle Fork of the Salmon River, one of the West's great white-water rafting rivers. Sharp eyes will catch elk, big horn sheep, moose and deer. Sharp anglers will catch trout.