There are approximately 1.5-million acres of roadless lands on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Click here to read the inspiring descriptions of each area, along with viewing the innovative maps that we created just for this web site. Roadless areas are federal public lands with no roads or little development that have not yet been designated as wilderness by Congress, though they are areas that could be so protected. These areas are generally over 5,000-acres in size and managed by the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Idaho has approximately 9-million acres of roadless public wildlands remaining on the National Forests, more than any state in the Lower 48. There are approximately 1.5-million acres of roadless widlands on the National Forests in Wild Clearwater Country. Without wilderness designation, places like Weitas Creek, Pot Mountain, and Mallard-Larkins will continue to be threatened by development.
Roadless areas are part of our natural heritage. With approximately 20 million acres of roadless wildlands remaining in the northern Rockies bioregion, these irreplaceable landscapes provide critical habitat for imperiled species like grizzly bears and bull trout, offer outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, backpacking and whitewater recreation, and ensure clean drinking water for millions of people. The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act would designate the remaining roadless wildlands in the northern Rockies bioregion as wilderness, and bring stronger protections for thousands of miles of streams.
“There is just one hope of repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every niche on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom of the wilderness.” – Bob Marshall
The battle to protect the roadless and wild heritage of America has a long history. A major milestone was reached with passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. This was preceded by Forest Service regulations (the L-20 and the U-Regulations) and followed by various studies and policies dealing with public wildlands. Click here to learn more about the history to protect wilderness and other wild, undeveloped landscapes.
In the Clearwater region, dirt roads could be closed or removed to connect individual roadless areas and existing wilderness into larger areas of intact wildlife habitat. The Nez Perce Tribe has led the effort to close unneeded roads to improve watershed integrity and fisheries habitat, in cooperation with the Forest Service. The same could be done for terrestrial species and their habitat, by closing primitive roads or roads that are difficult to maintain and cause significant damage.