Roadless Areas & Proposed Wilderness

“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 (L – 20 and 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.

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.

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.

The following Roadless Areas in the Clearwater Basin have been proposed as Wilderness. Each link will provide you with descriptions and maps of the area. All acreage is estimated. 

Clear Creek - 9,000 acres

Cove – Mallard/Frank Church – River of No Return Addition - 64,000 acres

Dixie Summit – Nut Hill - 13,000 acres

Eldorado Creek - 7,000 acres

Fish – Hungery Creek (North Lochsa Slope) - 118,000 acres

Gospel – Hump Additions - 55,000 acres 

Grandmother Mountain - 35,000 acres 

Grandmother Mountain Roadless Area, FOC Photo

John Day - 10,000 acres

Kelly Creek (Great Burn) - 255,000 acres

Lick Point - 7,000 acres

Little Slate Creek - 12,000 acres

Little Slate Creek North - 6,000 acres

Lochsa Slope/Selway – Bitterroot Addition - 75,000 acres

Mallard – Larkins - 260,000 acres

Meadow Creek/Selway – Bitterroot Addition - 215,000 acres

Moose Mountain - 22,000 acres

North Fork Slate Creek - 11,000 acres

North Fork Spruce/Selway – Bitterroot Addition - 36,000 acres

O’Hara – Falls Creek - 33,000 acres

Pilot Knob (Silver Creek) - 21,000 acres

Pinchot Butte - 9,000 acres

Pot Mountain - 51,000 acres

Rackliff-Gedney/Selway – Bitterroot Addition - 90,000 acres

Selway – Bitterroot Additions - 580,000 acres

Siwash Creek - 9,000 acres

Sneakfoot Meadows/Selway – Bitterroot Addition - 23,000 acres

Upper North Fork - 63,000 acres

Weir Creek (Weir – Post Office) - 22,000 acres

Weitas Creek - 260,000 acres



Press Release

Roadless areas are a defining feature of the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests. Protecting roadless characteristics ensures that one day, these areas may also become Wilderness!

Every dollar donated helps us protect 29 rare roadless areas ranging from 7,000 to 260,000 acres in size. Funds will be used for legal research and potential litigation.
Thank you!


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