Alice Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness
|Location||Blaine, Boise, Custer, and Elmore counties, Idaho, United States|
|Nearest city||Stanley, ID|
|Area||217,088 acres (878.52 km2)|
|Established||August 22, 1972|
|Visitors||32,500 (in 2005)|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
The Sawtooth Wilderness is a federally-protected wilderness area that covers 217,088 acres (87,852 ha) of the state of Idaho. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it was designated the Sawtooth Primitive Area in 1937 to preserve the exceptional scenic beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains. On August 22, 1972 Public Law 92-400 designated the Primitive Area as the Sawtooth Wilderness and part of the newly created Sawtooth National Recreation Area. As part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, the Sawtooth Wilderness is an area where human development and use are restricted and people are to remain only visitors. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Sawtooth Wilderness has some of the clearest air in the lower 48 states.
Sawtooth National Forest was created as the Sawtooth Forest Reserve in the U.S. Department of Agriculture by proclamation of President Theodore Roosevelt on May 29, 1905. It was named after the Sawtooth Mountains in the northwestern part of the forest. On October 12, 1937, the U.S. Forest Service established the Sawtooth Primitive Area in the Sawtooth Mountains. Subsequently, Sawtooth National Forest began to extensively develop recreation opportunities, including new campgrounds, trails, and roads.
In 1960, Frank Church, a U.S. Senator from Idaho, first introduced legislation for a feasibility study to study the area for national park status.While Church allowed the 1960 feasibility study legislation to die, he introduced a bill in 1963 to create Sawtooth Wilderness National Park, which would primarily encompass the existing Sawtooth Primitive Area. While the 1963 bill also died, Church admitted that it wasn't designed to pass but rather to encourage thorough feasibility studies by both the Forest Service and National Park Service. Support for greater protection of the Sawtooths and surrounding areas grew after the discovery of a molybdenum deposit at the base of Castle Peak in the White Cloud Mountains in 1968.
In March 1971 Idaho's congressional delegation was finally united and introduced legislation to create the SNRA. On August 22, 1972 Public Law 92-400 establishing the SNRA, covering 756,019 acres (305,950 ha), and banning mining in it passed both the House of Representatives and Senate and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. As part of this legislation, the Sawtooth Primitive Area became the Sawtooth Wilderness covering 217,088 acres (87,852 ha) and part of the National Wilderness Preservation System under the Wilderness Act of 1964. The SNRA was dedicated in a ceremony held on the shores of Redfish Lake on September 1, 1972.
The Sawtooth Wilderness is managed by Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which is a division of Sawtooth National Forest. However, the wilderness encompasses land that was originally part of three National Forests: 150,071 acres (607.32 km2) in Boise National Forest, 12,020 acres (48.6 km2) in Challis National Forest, and 54,997 acres (222.56 km2) in Sawtooth National Forest.
The Wilderness Act of 1964 enhanced the protection status of remote or undeveloped land already contained within federally administered protected areas. Passage of the act ensured that no human improvements would take place aside from those already existing. The protected status in wilderness-designated zones prohibits road and building construction, oil and mineral exploration or extraction, and logging, and also prohibits the use of motorized equipment, including bicycles. The only manner in which people can enter wilderness areas is either on foot or horseback. Hunting and fishing are permitted in the wilderness, just as they are throughout the SNRA, provided those engaging in such activities have the proper licenses and permits.Fires and stock are prohibited in certain high-use areas of the wilderness.
Wilderness areas do not allow motorized or mechanical equipment, including bicycles. Although camping and fishing are allowed with proper permit, no roads or buildings are constructed, and there is also no logging or mining. Hunting is permitted during the appropriate hunting seasons. Hunting and fishing licenses are available from the state of Idaho through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 350 miles (560 km) in the wilderness that can be used for day hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding and accessed from 23 trailheads. Most of these trails were constructed or reconstructed in the 1960s. Mountain climbing, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and backcountry downhill skiing are activities that are also permitted in the wilderness. The closest town to the wilderness is Stanley at the northern end of the Sawtooth Valley, but the communities of Atlanta and Sawtooth City also provide access to the wilderness.There are 40 trails totaling nearly
The Sawtooth Wilderness encompasses the Sawtooth Mountains, which are part of the Rocky Mountains. 10,000 ft (3,000 m) high, including Thompson Peak, the highest point in the range and the wilderness at 10,751 ft (3,277 m). The second highest point in Mount Cramer. The northern Sawtooth Mountains formed from the Eocene Sawtooth batholith, while south of Alturas Lake the Sawtooth Mountains formed from the Cretaceous granodiorite of the Idaho Batholith.The Sawtooth Mountains have at least 50 peaks over
The entire wilderness is in the watershed of the Snake River, a tributary of the Columbia River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean. The eastern side of the wilderness is drained by Salmon River, which flows into the Snake River 425 miles (684 km) downstream. The western side of the wilderness is in the watershed of the South Fork of the Payette River, while part of the southern end of the wilderness is drained by the Boise River. Several hundred lakes exist in the Sawtooth Wilderness, and nearly all are the result of glaciation. The largest lake in the wilderness is Sawtooth Lake, and other large lakes include Alice, Toxaway, Ardeth, Edna, Hell Roaring, Goat, and Baron lakes. Lakes in the wilderness can remain frozen until mid-summer, and many of the smaller lakes are unnamed.
The Sawtooth Fault is a 40 mi (64 km) long east-dipping normal fault that runs along the base of the Sawtooth Mountains and was discovered and mapped in 2010. It is believed to be capable of producing an earthquake measuring up to 7.5 on the Richter magnitude scale, with one of the most recent large earthquakes occurring 4,000 years ago and a second 7,000 years ago.
The Sawtooth Wilderness has a history of alpine glaciation, and while no surface glaciers exist today, perennial snow fields and rock glaciers remain, usually on north or east facing slopes. There have been 202 perennial snow fields mapped in the Sawtooth Mountains.The Sawtooth Mountains were last extensively glaciated in the Pleistocene, but glaciers probably existed during the Little Ice Age, which ended around AD 1850. Remnants of glacial activity include glacial lakes, moraines, horns, hanging valleys, cirques, and arêtes.
Land cover types in the Sawtooth Wilderness include pine and spruce-fir forests, meadows, and alpine tundra. Lodgepole pine forms nearly monotypic forests in lower elevations of the wilderness, while douglas fir and quaking aspen can also be found. Higher elevations contain whitebark pine, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and limber pine.There are no known threatened or endangered plant species in the wilderness.
Most of the area's native mammal species are present in the wilderness, with the exception of grizzly bears, which have become locally extinct. Gray wolves were reintroduced to the SNRA amidst controversy in the mid-1990s and now occupy most of the forest except for the Minidoka District. They were reintroduced to restore the ecosystem stability that they provide as top predators, including managing high elk populations, which had inhibited new vegetation growth. Opponents to the reintroduction included hunters concerned that wolves would inhibit their ability to hunt the highest number of game species possible, ranchers concerned for the welfare of their animals, and land developers concerned that a species listed under the Endangered Species Act may restrict what they can do to their land. Plans for the reintroduction of grizzly bears to central Idaho have been proposed since the 1990s, but have not progressed because of concerns similar to those with the wolf reintroduction but also concerns for personal safety.The wilderness contains habitat for wolverines and the endangered Canada lynx, but no recent sightings of these species have been reported.
Other large mammals found in the wilderness include mule deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, mountain lions, and black bears. Bull trout are the management indicator species for Sawtooth National Forest, and they can be found in some of the streams in the wilderness. Population monitoring efforts are undertaken every year to provide an assessment of forest health.They were selected because they are dependent upon specific habitat conditions and sensitive to habitat changes.
The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range located in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 mi (4,800 km) in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. The northern terminus is located in the Liard River area east of the Pacific Coast Ranges, while the southernmost point is near the Albuquerque area adjacent the Rio Grande Basin and north of the Sandia–Manzano Mountain Range. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are distinct from the Cascade Range and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.
Glacier National Park is an American national park located in northwestern Montana, on the Canada–United States border, adjacent to the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1 million acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem," a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).
The Wallowa Mountains are a mountain range located in the Columbia Plateau of northeastern Oregon in the United States. The range runs approximately 40 miles (64 km) northwest to southeast in southwestern Wallowa County and eastern Union County between the Blue Mountains to the west and the Snake River to the east. The range is sometimes considered to be an eastern spur of the Blue Mountains, and it is known as the "Alps of Oregon". Much of the range is designated as the Eagle Cap Wilderness, part of the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest.
Mount Evans is the highest peak in the namesake Mount Evans Wilderness in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 14,271-foot fourteener is located 13.4 miles (21.6 km) southwest by south of Idaho Springs in Clear Creek County, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide between Arapaho National Forest and Pike National Forest.
The bull trout is a char of the family Salmonidae native to northwestern North America. Historically, S. confluentus has been known as the "Dolly Varden", but was reclassified as a separate species in 1980. Bull trout are listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (1998) and as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area is a protected wilderness area in Idaho. It was created in 1980 by the United States Congress and renamed in 1984 as the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in honor of U.S. Senator Frank Church.
The Flathead National Forest is a national forest in the western part of the U.S. state of Montana. The forest lies primarily in Flathead County, south of Glacier National Park. The forest covers 2,404,935 acres of which about 1 million acres (4,000 km2) is designated wilderness. It is named after the Flathead Native Americans who live in the area.
The Beaverhead–Deerlodge National Forest is the largest of the National Forests in Montana, United States. Covering 3.36 million acres (13,600 km2), the forest is broken into nine separate sections and stretches across eight counties in the southwestern area of the state. President Theodore Roosevelt named the two forests in 1908 and they were merged in 1996. Forest headquarters are located in Dillon, Montana. In Roosevelt's original legislation, the Deerlodge National Forest was called the Big Hole Forest Reserve. He created this reserve because the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, based in Butte, Montana, had begun to clearcut the upper Big Hole River watershed. The subsequent erosion, exacerbated by smoke pollution from the Anaconda smelter, was devastating the region. Ranchers and conservationists alike complained to Roosevelt, who made several trips to the area. (Munday 2001)
Boise National Forest is a National Forest covering 2,203,703 acres (8,918.07 km2) of the U.S. state of Idaho. Created on July 1, 1908, from part of Sawtooth National Forest, it is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as five units: the Cascade, Emmett, Idaho City, Lowman, and Mountain Home ranger districts.
Caribou–Targhee National Forest is located in the states of Idaho and Wyoming, with a small section in Utah in the United States. The forest is broken into several separate sections and extends over 2.63 million acres (10,600 km2). To the east the forest borders Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Bridger–Teton National Forest. Most of the forest is a part of the 20-million-acre (81,000 km2) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Wenatchee National Forest is a U.S. National Forest located in Washington. With an area of 1,735,394 acres, it extends about 137 miles along the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range of Washington, USA from Okanogan National Forest to Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The forest is located in Chelan, Kittitas and Yakima counties.
Glacier Peak Wilderness is a 566,057-acre (229,075 ha), 35-mile-long (56 km), 20-mile-wide (32 km) wilderness area located within portions of Chelan, Snohomish, and Skagit counties in the North Cascades of Washington. The area lies within parts of Wenatchee National Forest and Mount Baker National Forest and is characterized by heavily forested stream courses, steep-sided valleys, and dramatic glacier-crowned peaks. The dominant geologic feature of the area is 10,541-foot (3,213 m) Glacier Peak. It is the most remote major volcanic peak in the Cascade Range and has more active glaciers than any other place in the lower forty-eight states. Glacier Peak is a volcanic cone of basalt, pumice, and ash which erupted during periods of heavy glaciation.
Sawtooth National Forest is a National Forest that covers 2,110,408 acres in the U.S. states of Idaho and Utah. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it was originally named the Sawtooth Forest Reserve in a proclamation issued by President Theodore Roosevelt on May 29, 1905. On August 22, 1972 a portion of the forest was designated as the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), which includes the Sawtooth, Cecil D. Andrus–White Clouds, and Hemingway–Boulders wilderness areas. The forest is managed as four units: the SNRA and the Fairfield, Ketchum, and Minidoka Ranger Districts.
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) is a National Recreation Area located in central Idaho, United States that is managed as part of Sawtooth National Forest. The recreation area, established on August 22, 1972, is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and includes the Sawtooth, Hemingway–Boulders, and Cecil D. Andrus–White Clouds wilderness areas. Activities within the 730,864-acre (2,957.70 km2) recreation area include hiking, backpacking, White water rafting, camping, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting.
The Sawtooth Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in central Idaho, United States, reaching a maximum elevation of 10,751 feet (3,277 m) at the summit of Thompson Peak. It encompass an area of 678 square miles (1,756 km2) spanning parts of Custer, Boise, Blaine, and Elmore counties, and is bordered to the east by the Sawtooth Valley. Much of the mountain range is within the Sawtooth Wilderness, part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth National Forest.
The White Cloud Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains of the western United States, located in central Idaho, southeast of Stanley in Custer County. The range is located within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) and partially within the Cecil D. Andrus–White Clouds Wilderness.
Glacier Lake is a small alpine lake in Elmore County, Idaho, United States, located in the Sawtooth Mountains in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. There are no trails that lead to Glacier Lake, although Sawtooth National Forest trails 459, 494, and 458 are relatively close by.
The Sawtooth Valley is a valley in the Western United States, in Blaine and Custer counties of central Idaho. About 30 miles (50 km) long, it is in Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) in the Sawtooth National Forest. It is surrounded by the Sawtooth Mountains to the west, White Cloud Mountains to the east, Salmon River Mountains to the north, and Boulder and Smoky Mountains to the south. The valley contains the headwaters of the Salmon River, the city of Stanley, and community of Sawtooth City.
The Idaho Batholith ecoregion is a Level III ecoregion designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Idaho and Montana. It is contained within the following biomes designated by the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF): temperate coniferous forests; temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands; and deserts and xeric shrublands.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sawtooth Wilderness .|