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The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, part of U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), is an interagency, national research facility located on campus at the University of Montana. The Leopold Institute 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, U.S. National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS), and similarly protected wild lands.

We have a long a long history of conducting and sharing science in support of the NWPS, as well as collaborating with academic, NGO, tribal, community, and other partners within the U.S. and internationally.


Looking down from Mount Sentinel at the rear side of the University of Montana main hall

Woman and dogs stand on the Pacific Crest Trail, overlooking a mountain vista.


To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.

--Terry Tempest Williams

ALWRI recognizes that wilderness means different things to different people. Our research, research application, and knowledge-sharing programs honor and acknowledge the breadth of these meanings. Our current work aligns with five research priority areas: Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change and Disturbance, Stewardship Effectiveness, Relevance and Inclusivity, and Shared Stewardship.

Advancing wilderness stewardship through transformational science.  --ALWRI Mission Statement

Alligator basks in a cypress swamp.

Leopold.wilderness.net is hosted by the University of Montana (UM) associated with Wilderness Connect (wilderness.net), a wilderness web resource first developed in 1996 through a collaborative partnership between the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation's Wilderness Institute at UM, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (ALWRI). This ALWRI component of wildereness.net shares national and international wilderness research efforts and outputs, and in part serves to meet interagency-agreement reporting requirements of the Federal, Interagency Wilderness Policy Council and Steering Committee.