Clearwater Country

Hot Topic: Forest Plan Revision

In November 2014, the initial comment period closed on the U.S. Forest Service’s initial proposal for management of resources in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

The new plan will recommend areas for potential Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations, and provides direction for logging, mining, grazing, recreation and other uses of the forest.

The Idaho Conservation League will track the development of this plan closely to ensure that sensitive resources are protected. In addition, we’ll ensure that our supporters have an understanding of the important issues and are able to provide input to the planning process. Later in 2015, we expect the environmental impact statement to be released, providing another opportunity to comment on this sprawling 4-million acre landscape of rain-soaked cedars, rugged peaks and abundant clean water.

Clearwater Basin Collaborative

For generations, the special places of the Clearwater River Basin have renewed the spirits of residents and visitors alike. The area is the ancestral home of the Nez Perce Tribe, who remain closely connected to the land.

In 1900, John Leiberg, an early explorer of the region characterized it well when he said, “The Clearwater canyons are torturous throughout their length….[and]  can be defined as a maze of deep, very narrow, winding canyons…” Because of this difficult and imposing landscape, much of the backcountry of the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests remains pristine today.

In September 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition crossed Lolo Pass and descended into the Basin. William Clark noted in his journal, “From this Mountain I could observe huge rugged mountains in every direction as far as I could see.” In fact, the only portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail that remains in a pristine condition in the entire nation is found in the Fish and Hungery Creek area.

Recognizing its robust populations of fish and wildlife, cultural traditions and historical and ecological significance, the Idaho Conservation League has been working to permanently protect the Clearwater for decades.

In the spirit of the Owyhee Initiative, Sen. Mike Crapo convened the Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC) in May 2008.

As a member of this diverse group, which includes representatives of Clearwater and Idaho Counties, the forest products industry, the Nez Perce Tribe, economic development interests and local off-road vehicle groups, ICL is working to secure lasting protections for places like Kelly and Cayuse Creek, Meadow Creek, the Mallard-Larkins and Johns Creek.

In addition, ICL is working to address long-standing controversies over public land management and to improve the economic vitality of the region.

All CBC meetings are open to the public and public comment is encouraged. Meeting notices, along with other information about the CBC, are available.

If you’ve explored places like the Lochsa and North Fork Clearwater Rivers, caught one of Kelly Creek’s blue ribbon cutthroats, or hiked the Mallard-Larkins, you know how special the Clearwater basin is. Through the CBC, we hope to protect these special places for future generations.