The Clearwater Basin is one of Idaho’s most wild placess. The basin’s rivers and streams harbor blue-ribbon fisheries, such as Kelly Creek and the North Fork Clearwater River. Large B-run steelhead swim the Selway and South Fork Clearwater rivers. Tributaries such as Meadow Creek are home to a greater genetic diversity of native trout than anywhere else in the western U.S.
The basin’s large roadless areas provide habitat for many different species of wildlife. While elk herds are regularly spotted in the Clearwater, a lesser known animal—the fisher—also thrives in the basin. Once thought to have been annihilated in Idaho, biologists recently discovered that native fisher persist in the Clearwater.
Recreationists can find respite from their busy lives while enjoying the Clearwater’s numerous offerings. Whitewater enthusiasts are thrilled to run the Lochsa and Selway rivers. Hikers and equestrians cherish the trails of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and the Gospel Hump Wilderness, as well as unprotected wilderness candidates such as the Great Burn, Mallard-Larkins and Meadow Creek roadless areas.
The Idaho Conservation League is a member of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC)—a diverse working group of local government officials, timber industry representatives, motorized recreationists and other environmental organizations that seek common ground on national forest management issues in the basin.
One of the CBC’s most important and ongoing projects is to provide recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service on a revision of the forest plan for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. These national forest lands are currently managed under outdated plans from the 1980s.
Among other things, the CBC is developing recommendations for forest management, old growth conservation, riparian area conservation and potential additions to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System and National Wilderness Preservation System.