The Wilderness Land Trust Completes Hells Canyon Wilderness in Idaho

The Wilderness Land Trust Completes Hells Canyon Wilderness in Idaho

Aug. 29, 2013

The Wilderness Land Trust just purchased the last privately owned parcel in Idaho’s Hells Canyon Wilderness, the 13-acre Bald Eagle Lode, for transfer to the United States Forest Service and the completion of the 217,000-acre wilderness.  The purchase removes the threat of a recreational cabin site compromising the wilderness values of the area.  The purchase was made possible by a generous donation from one of The Wilderness Land Trust’s supporters.  


Perched on a saddle between the Snake River watershed and the Salmon River watershed, the property is a crossroads at a low point in the Seven Devils Mountains.  Nez Pearce Indians crossed here first, followed by gold prospectors, and now backpackers and hunters.  It is a major elk migration route, and the views from the site are tremendous.   Protection of the property guarantees that hunters, anglers, horsepackers, and hikers can enjoy the popular trail without encountering buildings, fences, or no trespass signs.


The Bald Eagle Lode has been owned by the same family since it was patented in 1905 as a gold mine.  Hikers can find an old ore cart and a filled-in tunnel hidden in the pine trees just uphill from the hiking trail. The family had offers from other buyers interested in a possible cabin site located in a spectacular spot in the wilderness but chose to work with The Wilderness Land Trust to preserve the natural character of the wilderness.


“The Trust is very thankful that the Gilmore and Wilson families chose to work with us to complete the Hells Canyon Wilderness.” said David Kirk, Senior Land Specialist. “With the property’s location on the trail in one of the most scenic spots in the wilderness, its protection has a much bigger impact than its size would indicate.   The Trust is thrilled to complete the wilderness and fulfill the original promise of the Hells Canyon Wilderness designation.”





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