Boulder-White Clouds Council

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Boulder-White Clouds Council
Post Office Box 6313
Ketchum, Idaho 83340

2003 All rights reserved.

Wilderness to the
people of America is
a spiritual necessity,
an antidote to the
high pressure of
modern life, a means
of regaining serenity
and equilibrium.
-- Sigurd Olson

How would the
Boulder-White Clouds
area be managed
as a wilderness?
Click here to
read more

Threats to wildlands
include new roads,
mining and machines.
Click here
to read more

Castle Peak almost became an open pit mine in 1970, but public uproar saved the pristine mountain.

About Wilderness

 Wilderness: Land of Many Users      Wilderness News & Issues

Proposed Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Area
Selway/Bitterroot (1,089,017 acres)
Craters of the Moon (43,243 acres)
Sawtooth Wilderness (217,088 acres)
Hells Canyon (83,811 acres)
Gospel Hump (205,764 acres)
Frank Church River of No Return (2,366,698 acres)

We will be updating this page soon to reflect Idaho's new 517,000 acre Owyhee-Bruneau Wilderness, in six units, which was designated in March 2009.

Wild Idaho
Idaho is the wildest state outside Alaska, with four million acres of designated Wilderness and another 17 million acres still wild and awaiting Congressional Wilderness protection. Half lies in central Idaho's Salmon River watershed. In Salmon River country, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, salmon, gray wolves and people share habitat across a landscape large enough to sustain such sharing...

At Risk
But Idaho is growing. As demands for resources rise, wildlife, fish and forests are all at risk. Only four million of Idaho's wild acres are secure in the National Wilderness System. Most at risk is a big picture found in central Idaho alone - a fabric of wilderness intact across more land than anywhere else in the lower 48. A few pieces are protected, but most of it - places like the Smoky Mountains, the Pioneers, and the South Fork of the Salmon River - is not. And the largest piece still unprotected is the Boulder-White Clouds.

Wilderness in the United States as of 2005*
In 1964, Idaho Senator Frank Church sponsored the law which created the  National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). The system protects wild  lands of outstanding scenic and natural values, to ensure that remnants of the original wilderness that shaped our nation will remain for posterity. Only the U.S. Congress can add lands to the Wilderness  system. As of December 2005, there is 4.4 percent (over 106 million acres) of  the U.S. land base in the NWPS. Over half (56 million acres) is in Alaska. Only two percent of the Lower 48 states is protected as Wilderness. There are 44 states with some Wilderness, plus Puerto Rico and its 10,000-acre rain forest Caribbean Wilderness, as of 2005.

Designated Wilderness in Idaho*

Idaho has six designated Wilderness areas, totaling 4,005,621 acres. This is 7.6 percent of the state. Idaho Wilderness areas, year designated and acres are: Selway-Bitterroot in 1964 (1,089,017 acres); Craters of the Moon in 1970 (43,243 acres); Sawtooth in 1972 (217,088 acres); Hells Canyon in1975 (83,811 acres); Gospel Hump in 1978 (205,764 acres); and Frank Church River of No Return in1980 (2,366,698 acres).

Idaho Ranks 5th in Designated Wilderness*

Idaho ranks 5th in designated Wilderness. Here are the top 13 Wilderness States:

  1. Alaska (58 million acres)
  2. California (14 million acres)
  3. Arizona (4.5 million acres)
  4. Washington (4.3 million acres)
  5. Idaho (4 million acres)
  6. Montana (3.4 million acres)
  7. Colorado (3.38 million acres)
  8. Wyoming (3.1 million acres)
  9. Nevada (2.26 million acres)
  10. Oregon ( 2.2 million acres)
  11. New Mexico (1.6 million)
  12. Florida (1.4 million)
  13. Utah (896,418 acres)

White Clouds History - Battle Over Castle Peak
In 1968, Castle Peak was threatened by an open pit mine. An outcry by Idaho citizens stopped the mine and led to the creation of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in 1972.

To


Boulder-White Cloud Wilderness Recommendations

In 1972, in the Sawtooth National Recreation Act, Congress made half the Boulder-White Clouds a Wilderness Study Area. In 1987, the Sawtooth and Challis Forests recommended 224,350 acres be designated Wilderness. In 1989, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recommended that 26,750 acres be designated Wilderness. Unfortunately, these two recommendations are not contiguous; the agencies did not coordinate their studies.

In 1983, Idaho citizens proposed a 460,000-acre Wilderness, spanning Forest Service and BLM lands. In 1990, at the request of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association, another 40,000 acres were added. Total Wilderness recommendation: 500,000-acres. [For Sawtooth Wilderness information and regulations go to the Sawtooth Forest web site. Sawtooth Wilderness trail data is also available here.

Information provided by The Wilderness Society, 2005.

How You Can Help
Click here to find out how
YOU can make a difference!

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Keep the Heart of Idaho Wild