Middle Fork Salmon Protection Grows Thanks to Federal Funding
The Trust for Public Land last week announced the purchase of a critical 80-acre private property in the heart of the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, Idaho. This land will be added to the Frank Church and made available for all to enjoy as unspoiled wilderness.
The Trust for Public Land worked with the landowners and the U.S. Forest Service to protect a portion of the Morgan Ranch, a private homestead dating to the gold-rush era of the late 1800s. The Morgan Ranch property is about 35 miles from Stanley, Idaho, and is located just downstream from the Boundary Creek put-in, the most popular access point on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
The Forest Service bought the property for $570,000. Funding to purchase the property came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal government’s main source of money for protecting land. It is funded by royalties paid by energy companies in exchange for oil and gas extraction from federal offshore leases.
American Whitewater actively supported the use of LWCF funding for the purchase of this parcel, and also advocates for the LWCF program during each federal budget cycle. While the LWCF program is often a contested funding source inside of DC's beltway, the incredible value of the lands conserved by the program is crystal clear to paddlers and other visitors to public lands.
We would like to thank the Trust for Public Lands, the US Forest Service, and of course the landowners for working out this great deal for the American public, and for the incomparable Middle Fork of the Salmon River.