Off-road Vehicle Abuse
The use of off-road vehicles (ORV) on federal public lands has rapidly increased over the past fifty years. ORV’s are permitted, under certain circumstances, by all four federal land management agencies: National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Learn more.
Public Lands Privatization & Commodification
For some time now, special interests have been trying to turn public wildlands managed by the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management into a cash cow for the recreation industry. Sadly, this program is well on its way to privatizing, marketizing and commodifying outdoor recreation, amounting to a disneyfication of nature so that it is no longer wild. (NOTE: Unfortunately, National Parks have long had concessionaires, who unduly influence national park policy, and that trend is becoming worse with corporate sponsorship in the parks). Learn more.
Upper Lochsa Land Exchange
In the 1800′s Congress passed a series of laws granting lands to railroad companies to promote settlement and development in the West. This resulted in certain checkerboard landscapes, in which every other square mile was either private or public land. Lands in the upper Lochsa have a checkerboard landscape pattern. The Northern Pacific Railroad ended up being completed north of the Clearwater Basin, however. The railroad barons did not live up to the requirements in the legislation, though, and tragically, those lands were not returned to public ownership. Learn more.
Highway 12 Corridor
A single paved road divides the Big Wild: US 12. Officially designated the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, it stretches from Lewiston, Idaho to Lolo Pass and the Idaho-Montana state-line. For approximately 170-miles the narrow, two-lane highway cuts through the Nez Perce Reservation, accompanies the entire length of the Clearwater River, and hugs the picturesque Lochsa River. In 1968, Congress designated both the Middle Fork Clearwater and the Lochsa Rivers as wild & scenic waterways, with a goal of preserving the rivers and “their immediate environments” for present and future generations. Learn more.
Four Lower Snake River Dams
The Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho provides excellent habitat for wild salmon and steelhead. The Wild Clearwater Country is the northern half of the Big Wild, which contains the largest remaining roadless and undeveloped stretch of wildlands left in the lower 48 states. Native wild salmon and steelhead populations have called this place home for millennia. Learn more.
Suction Dredge Mining
Suction dredging is a generally noisy, environmentally damaging practice that involves moving bed-load sediment in a river or stream from one location to another. Gasoline or diesel motors are mounted on top of rafts, and attached to hoses or vacuums that suck up the bed of a gravel stream before being discharged out the other end. It results in river bottoms stripped of sand and gravel, degraded spawning beds for wild steelhead, salmon and bull trout and loss of habitat for insects, which provide food for various fish species. Learn more.