Idaho’s land area does not make sense with such a small population. With so much land, why is more of the state not settled?
One word: Wilderness.
The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness takes up a massive proportion of Idaho’s territory with mountain ranges and rugged, wild rivers, such as the Main Salmon River. The state’s government quickly saw the value in keeping the “wild” in wilderness and set aside this iconic landscape.
On your next multi-day rafting trip on the Main Salmon River, keep in mind these fun facts about the expansive wild landscape you will traverse during your 6-day trip.
- The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (shall we go with FCRoNRW for short?) is the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states.
- Originally named simply “River of No Return Wilderness” for the early river runners descending the Main Salmon River – but not returning back the way they came.
- Idaho native and US Senator, Frank Church, championed the 1964 Wilderness Act and 1968 Wild & Scenic Rivers Act through congress. Both pieces of legislation protect pristine Idaho environments.
- Wilderness areas are not developed to accommodate visitors. The visitors to these natural places must be prepared to accommodate themselves. Without outfitters experienced in guiding people through unpredictable, challenging, and remote environments, many Americans would never experience a true Idaho river rafting and wilderness experience.
- “Grandfathered” practices are allowed despite Wilderness designation. These activities occurred prior to designation and include jet boat and aircraft usage. No jet skis, however, as these were not used prior to the implementation of a wilderness area. Other practices could include some mining rights and grazing rights.
- Scenic easements through Forest Service state that homeowners will only build what is written in the agreement, leaving the canyon a more scenic and wild place. Thus, homesteaders who took to the landscape can keep their properties.
- Mail is delivered to the canyon’s residents via aircraft every Wednesday.
- The Main Salmon River which flows along the northern boundary of the FCRoNRW area is the funnest and easiest way to experience this legendary landscape. Join one of Wet Planet’s multi-day Main Salmon rafting trips this summer!