Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Weigh in on Sun Valley’s Crown Jewel at Science Pub, Public Workshop
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Beautiful Kane Lake is among the nearby attractions in the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
 
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Josh Johnson has been pointing his rig every which way exploring his new backyard since moving to Wood River Valley a little over a year ago.

And many of his trips have taken him to the top of Trail Creek Summit to explore such gems as Kane and Boulder lakes, Surprise Valley and Wildhorse Canyon.

“The Salmon-Challis National Forest is one of the crown jewels of the national forest system,” he said. “So many superlatives. At 4.3 million areas it’s the second largest national forest in the Lower 48 behind the 6.3-million-acre Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada.

 “It includes the largest portion of the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48—the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. It has two of the nation’s premiere Wild & Scenic Rivers, including the Middle Fork of the Salmon. Not only does it contain Idaho’s highest peak—Mount Borah--but it has Idaho’s 19 highest peaks. And it’s got great wildlife, including mountain goats, wolves and bears.”

Just how to manage this crown jewel is up for review.

Representatives of the Salmon-Challis National Forest are drafting a new forest plan, which will serve as a blueprint  for how to manage competing interests, such as recreation, wildlife, mining, logging and grazing over the next 20 years.

And they will host a public workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Community Campus in Hailey.

Johnson, the Central Idaho conservation associate for the Idaho Conservation League, will address some of the particulars up for consideration ahead of the workshop during a free Science Pub presentation this week. The Science Pub will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the Sawtooth Brewery Pub at 631 Warm Springs Road in Ketchum.

“The Salmon-Challis Forest offers world-class recreation opportunities with significant mineral deposits so this is an important opportunity for the public to have their voices heard on how to balance these needs,” said Johnson. “The Salmon Challis Forest doesn’t quite overlap with Blaine County. But, once you head up Trail Creek Road, you’re into the forest. So, essentially, we have this amazing place  right out  our back yard.”

The Salmon- Challis Forest Plan Revision began in January 2017. The last forest plans were published in 1988 and 1987 way back before the Salmon and the Challis National Forests were consolidated in 1998.

The revision will look at what areas should be considered for wilderness designation and Wild & Scenic Rivers designation, among other things.

“It’s important to get the plan right because it will be around for the next 20 years or more,” said Johnson.

To visit the Forest Plan Revision website, go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/scnf/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fseprd544724 For more information, contact Gina Knudson at 208-756-5551 or email scnf_plan_rev@fs.fed.us.

 

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