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  • About Salmon-Challis National Forest

    The Salmon-Challis National Forest covers over 4.3 million acres in east-central Idaho. Included within the boundaries of the Forest is 1.3 million acres of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the largest contiguous wilderness area in the Continental United States. Rugged and remote, this country offers adventure, solitude and breathtaking scenery. Passed into law on August 7, 2015 is the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness Area covering approximately 116,898 acres, which is administered by the Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Challis Field Office. The Forest also contains Borah Peak, Idaho's tallest peak, and the Wild & Scenic Salmon River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The area is a highly desired destination for hunting, fishing, white-water rafting, and many other popular recreational pursuits.


    Salmon-Challis National Forest History

    In 1906 the Salmon River Forest Reserve was established; this was later renamed in 1908 to the Salmon National Forest in order to properly reflect the multiplicity of uses for the region. Later that same year, the Challis National Forest was created. The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness was established by congress in 1980; this area encompassed a total of 2.36 million acres extending across 6 national forests and 97 miles of the Salmon River to become the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states. 1996 brought change to these two forests as the USDA and the U.S. Forest Service began to streamline the administration of different regions. As part of a “pilot program” started in 1996, the Salmon National Forest, Challis National Forest, and a portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness consolidated to become the Salmon-Challis National Forest. This consolidation became formally approved in Washington, DC in February 1998. Currently, the Salmon-Challis National Forest maintains 6 district offices and a Supervisor’s Office; these include the Challis-Yankee Fork RD, the Middle Fork RD, Lost River RD, Salmon-Cobalt RD, the North Fork RD, and Leadore RD.