In 2016, ICL and the U.S. Forest Service came together to create a Wilderness Stewardship Program. With over 4 million acres of federally protected wilderness in Idaho, the volunteer stewards play a valuable role for the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and others that work to protect the places we play.
The stewards act as extra eyes and ears for Idaho’s newest wilderness areas-Hemingway-Boulders, White Clouds, and Jim McClure-Jerry Peak-as well as the Owyhee Canyonlands and the Sawtooths. This program uses steward volunteers as eyes and ears on the ground, helping out the limited staff of our land management partners.
Current stewardship patrols are observing illegal or large fire rings, mountain biking, motorized vehicles in designated wilderness, groups larger than the group size limit, dogs off leash and stock tied to trees. They are also packing out trash, talking to hikers and backpackers about Leave No Trace ethics, and collecting trail conditions data.
All the data the stewards collects about trail conditions, signage and encounters helps ensure that our partners direct their limited personnel and resources to areas that need them most.
Make sure to watch for the wilderness stewards on the trails!