Fact Sheet: Northwest

Fact Sheet: Northwest

0 Shares

CalWild has found the following lands in Northwest California to be wilderness eligible, as that term is defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964:

Black Butte River Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Mendocino County east of the community of Covelo/Round Valley
  • Size: 11,117 acres
  • Management agency: Mendocino National Forest
  • Ecological values: Old-growth forests of pine, fir and cedar, oak woodlands and meadows of native grasses. Hosts resident trout, Chinook salmon, and winter-run steelhead. Downstream, the Middle Fork Eel supports what is presently considered to be the southernmost population of summer-run steelhead on the West Coast and the largest single run of summer steelhead in the state.
  • Other values: The Forest Service notes that the region contains so many pristine archeological sites that it is of “exceptional” cultural importance. The Black Butte has been rated as a class IV+ stream (very difficult) by American Whitewater for those brave enough to kayak it.

 

Chanchelulla Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In Trinity County south and east of the community of Hayfork, just north of Highway 36
  • Size: 6,212 acres
  • Management agency: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Ecological values: Thousands of acres of ancient cedar, pine and fir forest, several cave-riddled outcrops of limestone and over four miles of Hayfork Creek (a key salmon and steelhead stream). These additions to the wilderness host many rare or endangered plant and animal species, including northern spotted owl, goshawk, fisher, marten, Peanut sandwort (a delicate white flower), and Stebbins’ madia (a striking yellow flower with a sage-like smell).
  • Other values: Visitors to the area are greeted with outstanding views in all directions, including distant Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak, the Sierra Nevada, the Yolla Bollys, the Trinity Alps and beyond. While most of the proposed additions are trackless, a single historic trail follows the Potato Creek drainage and enters the existing wilderness. Hayfork Creek has been rated as a very challenging class III-V kayak run by American Whitewater.

Photo: Josh Smith

Chinquapin Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Trinity County south of Highway 36 and the community of Forest Glen
  • Size: 26,890 acres
  • Management agency: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Ecological values: Contains the largest, most intact swath of unprotected ancient forest in California. Extremely rich groves of Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, black oak, and incense cedar cover much of the area. Chinquapin, usually a shrub, grows in an extremely rare tree-form here. Some of these giant chinquapin reach heights of 80 feet or more. Bald eagle, fisher, marten, Howell’s lewisia (an ornate purple and white flower), Niles’ madia (a yellow-flowered plant with a sage-like smell), pale yellow stonecrop (a succulent), and the tall, slender Umpqua green gentian plant are just a few of the rare or endangered species that call this area home. According to Forest Service data, Chinquapin is an integral part of the largest and densest populations of northern spotted owls and goshawks in the Trinity side of the two million-acre Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout also live in the South Fork Trinity Proposed Wild and Scenic River which bisects the area.
  • Other values: The popular South Fork National Recreation Trail also passes through Chinquapin, following the river and offering excellent fishing, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding opportunities. The South Fork Trinity offers a challenging whitewater boating opportunity.

Chinquapin Hikers. Photo: Steve Evans.

English Ridge Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Mendocino County south of Highway 162 on the Eel River
  • Size: 6,204 acres
  • Management agency: Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office
  • Ecological values: Old-growth Douglas-fir forest, oak woodlands, meadows of native grasses, salmon and steelhead trout habitat
  • Other values: The Wild and Scenic Eel River bisects the western portion of English Ridge from south to north. The river provides the only legal public access to the area because it is surrounded by private land. The forested slopes in the area are nearly trackless, so most recreation use consists of kayaking, canoeing, and rafting the Eel River. In 2011 the Department of the Interior released a report highlighting BLM lands around the nation that ought to be designated as wilderness by Congress. It included English Ridge among what it called these “crown jewels” of the BLM’s potential wilderness portfolio.

Photo: Lynn Ryan.

Headwaters Forest Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Humboldt County north of Fortuna
  • Size: 4,360 acres
  • Management agency: Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office
  • Ecological values: Spectacular old-growth coast redwood and Douglas-fir forests. The area hosts 12 threatened and endangered species, and it is particularly important for the continued viability of marbled murrelet populations in the region.
  • Other values: Activists waged a long battle to preserve this once privately-owned grove of stately old-growth coast redwoods. The struggle culminated in the passage of legislation in 1998 that authorized the purchase of the land and its designation as the “Headwaters Forest Reserve” managed by the BLM.
Headwaters Forest Rivers Little South Fork Elk River

Little South Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest.

Mad River Buttes Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Humboldt County southwest of the town of Willow Creek
  • Size: 6,002 acres
  • Management agency: Six Rivers National Forest
  • Ecological values: Old-growth forests of fir, cedar and pine. Large meadows dominated by native grasses. Fine groves of ancient oaks. These diverse habitats provide homes for many wildlife species, including the northern spotted owl, goshawk, Pacific fisher, pine marten, Pacific giant salamander, prairie falcon, pileated woodpecker, and Roosevelt elk among others. Unique plant communities are also formed by “serpentine barrens,” places where soil conditions are so poor that only highly specialized plants can survive.
  • Other values: This is the closest proposed wilderness to the greater Humboldt Bay area, thus making it an excellent destination for day-visits from Humboldt County. The Bug Creek Trail provides access to the area and offers views to the King Range, Trinity Alps, Mount Shasta, Yolla Bollys and beyond.

Roosevelt elk print in the Mad River Buttes.

Mount Lassic Proposed Wilderness Addition

  • Location: In Humboldt County west of Ruth Lake
  • Size: 1,292 acres
  • Management agency: Six Rivers National Forest
  • Ecological values: Old-growth forests of fir, cedar and pine. Unique “serpentine barrens,” places where soil conditions are so poor that only highly specialized plants can survive. Vernal pool fairy shrimp live in the area’s seasonal wetlands. Vernal pools usually occur at much lower elevations (most notably in the Central Valley), thus making this habitat extremely unique. Unusual soils make this area fascinating to botanists, and six rare plant species have been identified in the region. Other species include northern spotted owl, blue grouse, marten, fisher, and goshawk.
  • Other values: A picturesque cluster of peaks offering impressive views of the Coast Range. The area contains unique rock formations such as Mount Lassic and Red Lassic that are visible from as far away as the King Range to the west and the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness to the south.

North Fork Eel River Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In Trinity County southwest of Ruth Lake and west of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness
  • Size: 17,182 acres
  • Management agency: Six Rivers National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office
  • Ecological values: Oak woodlands, patches of old-growth pine and fir forest and open grasslands dominated by native grasses, flowers and other plants. The area is known to be used by peregrine falcons, the world’s fastest bird that can reach speeds in excess of 200 miles an hour when diving for prey. The North Fork Eel Wild and Scenic River provides habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout in its rugged and beautiful canyon.
  • Other values: The additions are mostly trackless, though there are a few rugged historic trails through the region. The North Fork Eel provides challenging whitewater opportunities for experienced kayakers and rafters.

Photo: Gordon Johnson.

Pattison Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Trinity County west of Hayfork and east of Hyampom
  • Size: 28,595 acres
  • Management agency: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Ecological values: Hayfork Creek and several of its feeder-streams provide critical habitat for salmon and steelhead trout. Many pockets of old-growth pine, fir and cedar. Large oak groves provide critical habitat for deer and other wildlife.
  • Other values: Young wilderness enthusiasts from the Bar 717 Ranch’s Camp Trinity hike, ride horses, and camp in the Pattison area and frequent the many swimming holes in Hayfork Creek. Many Pattison trails served as key transportation routes for both Native Americans and early western pioneers. Hayfork Bally and Pattison Peak may be climbed by the adventurous. Fishing in Hayfork Creek and other streams is a popular pastime for locals and visitors to the area. During the high-water season, expert kayakers challenge Hayfork Creek’s class IV-V whitewater.

Photo: Jason Smith.

Sanhedrin Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In Mendocino County west of Lake Pillsbury
  • Size: 112 acres
  • Management agency: Mendocino National Forest
  • Ecological values: Sanhedrin’s ancient forests are designated “critical habitat” essential for the survival of the northern spotted owl. Provides habitat for at least five rare and unique plant species, including the beautiful Anthony Peak lupine that grows nowhere else in the world.
  • Other values: Visitors to the area are greeted by outstanding views in all directions, including the Pacific Ocean, the Bay Area, and even Mount Shasta hundreds of miles away.

Siskiyou Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In several blocks of land all adjacent to the existing Siskiyou Wilderness in Del Norte County east of Crescent City
  • Size: 27,747 acres
  • Management agency: Six Rivers National Forest
  • Ecological values: The proposed additions are in the Smith River and Illinois River watersheds. The Smith is California’s only undammed river and it hosts one of the “best salmon and steelhead fisheries on the west coast” according to the Six Rivers National Forest. Ancient forests consist of an amazing fourteen species of conifers, the second greatest conifer diversity in the world.
  • Other values: The popular South Kelsey National Recreation Trail passes through some of the proposed additions. The Smith Wild and Scenic River is known for its turquoise color, challenging whitewater boating, outstanding fishing and terrific scenery.

Photo: Jason Smith

South Fork Eel River Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In Mendocino County west of the town of Laytonville
  • Size: 313 acres
  • Management agency: Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office
  • Ecological values: Four plant species grow only here and nowhere else on earth. The rare McNab cypress grows at only a handful of places in California and reaches its greatest abundance here.
  • Other values: The Wild and Scenic Eel River bisects the western portion of English Ridge from south to north.

Photo: Michael Kauffman.

South Fork Trinity River Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Trinity County southwest of Hyampom
  • Size: 26,446 acres
  • Management agency: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Ecological values: Very diverse habitats composed of old-growth pine, fir and cedar, oak forests, meadows that are still composed of native grasses, and critical habitat in the South Fork Trinity Wild and Scenic River for salmon, steelhead trout, red-legged frog, river otter, Pacific giant salamander and other species. Habitat for bald eagle, osprey, northern spotted owl and Pacific fisher. One of the world’s largest ponderosa pines is in the area. According to the Redding Record Searchlight, “The tree is 240 feet tall, or as tall as a 24-story building; trunk circumference of 290 inches, or almost 8 feet wide and a crown width of 70 feet.”
  • Other values: Recreational opportunities are abundant, as the river provides whitewater rafters and kayakers with challenging spring runs and the swimmer refreshing pools for swimming.

Photo by Jeff Morris.

Trinity Alps Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In Trinity County south of the town of Denny and north of Burnt Ranch
  • Size: 65,308 acres
  • Management agency: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Ecological values: Some of the largest remaining patches of old-growth pine, fir and cedar forest outside of protected wilderness in California. The Wild and Scenic New River, Canyon Creek Proposed Wild and Scenic River and other streams that flow out of the proposed additions provide cold, clear water essential for the survival of endangered steelhead trout and coho and Chinook salmon populations in the Trinity River. The New River watershed is well known for its purity, even during fierce rainstorms. The proposed additions are an extremely important refuge for unique and endangered species, including nine rare plants.
  • Other values: Reminders of the area’s Gold Rush history abound in the proposed additions in the form of abandoned mines, rock piles, and ditches. As is the case in the adjacent Trinity Alps Wilderness, these disturbances are often covered by vegetation, and do not in any way detract from the region’s overall wild character. Indeed, these historical features simply add to the public’s fascination with this wild, remote country. The New River offers challenging whitewater for boaters who are brave enough to negotiate its narrow gorge filled with deep troughs and house-sized boulders. Several popular trails visit the proposed additions, including Canyon Creek, the most popular trail in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

Photo by Jason Smith.

Underwood Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: In Trinity and Humboldt counties northwest of Hyampom
  • Size: 15,127 acres
  • Management agency: Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests
  • Ecological values: The proposed wilderness is bisected by the South Fork Trinity Wild and Scenic River. The stream hosts Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, coho salmon and river otter. Bald eagle and osprey fish from the air. Abundant old-growth forest exists, particularly on north-facing slopes.
  • Other values: Recreational opportunities are abundant, as the river provides whitewater rafters and kayakers with challenging spring runs and the swimmer refreshing pools for swimming. The South Fork Trail follows the River and provides outstanding spring and fall hiking. The wildflower displays along the trail are fantastic.

Photo by Steve Evans.

Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In Trinity and Mendocino counties northeast of Covelo/Round Valley adjacent to the existing Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness
  • Size: 10,729 acres (in several units)
  • Management agency: The Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests and the Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office
  • Ecological values: Rich old-growth forests that shelter northern spotted owl, goshawk, pileated woodpecker and other species. Springs and meadows that serve as the source of the East Fork South Fork Trinity River. The South Fork Trinity provides critically important habitat for salmon and steelhead. Provides critically-important summer and winter range for deer, habitat that is rapidly being lost to development elsewhere in the state.
  • Other values: The popular Rat Trap Gap, Black Rock Lake, North Yolla Bolly Lake and Stuart Gap trails all pass through the proposed wilderness additions.
North Yolla-Bolly. Photo by Outdoor Project Contributor Jason Mandly

North Yolla-Bolly. Photo by Outdoor Project Contributor Jason Mandly.

Yuki Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: In Mendocino County south of Covelo/Round Valley adjacent to the existing Yuki Wilderness
  • Size: 10,866 acres (in several units)
  • Management agency: The Mendocino National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office
  • Ecological values: The area contains the world’s largest grove of the rare Sargent cypress, a California endemic with a restricted range, and includes some of the tallest individuals of this species. The area contains vernal pool habitats, rare communities that only occupy less than one percent of California, and here they are even more remarkable because they occur on serpentine soil. Seven rare plant species grow in the area, and at least one botanist who has explored the area believes that it may have previously undescribed plant species. Endangered runs of summer steelhead, winter steelhead, and chinook salmon migrate up the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork Eel River. It is estimated that the Middle Fork Eel hosts over one-third of California’s entire remaining summer-run steelhead trout population. Bald eagle, osprey and river otter also hunt the river.
  • Other values: The area contains significant archaeological resources, especially along Elk Creek.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

SOUTH FORK TRINITY RIVER & TRIBUTARIES, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests

South Fork Trinity River. Photo by Jeff Morris.

South Fork Trinity River (68.5 miles) – One of the longest undammed rivers in California, the South Fork Trinity River flows north from its sources in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness to the Trinity River. The South Fork and its tributaries provide designated critical habitat for Coho salmon and important habitat for spring Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. It flows through diverse forests that shelter spotted owl, goshawk, bald eagle, fisher, marten, and several rare plants. The South Fork National Recreation Trail parallels much of the upper river and several other trails provide access to the lower river segments. Depending on the segment, the South Fork provides class II-V+ whitewater opportunities for kayakers and rafters. The entire river is recommended for protection by the Forest Service. Of the 68.5 miles proposed for designation in H.R. 2250, 31.8 miles of the stream administratively protected under section 16 USC Section 1273(a)(ii) in 1981 are proposed for legislative re-designation to require a comprehensive river management plan.

East Fork South Fork Trinity River (11.8 miles) – Fish biologists consider the East Fork South Fork to be a high priority watershed for the recovery of depressed South Fork Trinity fish stocks. Although its watershed is recovering from past logging abuses, the stream possesses the greatest amount of accessible fish habitat in the South Fork system and will play a key role in the recovery of the South Fork as one of the most productive steelhead streams in the region. The East Fork South Fork also supports spring Chinook and Coho salmon and its watershed provides terrestrial habitat for spotted owl, goshawk, Peregrine falcon, and Pacific fisher and several rare plants.

Rattlesnake Creek (5.9 miles) – The federal recovery plan for Coho salmon identifies Rattlesnake Creek as a high priority for restoration. It’s one of the few South Fork Trinity tributaries with several miles of accessible fish habitat without natural or man-made barriers.

Butter Creek.

Butter Creek.

Butter Creek (7 miles) – Butter Creek is a key tributary for the protection and restoration of South Fork Trinity anadromous fish stocks. The creek is an important source of cold water providing thermal refugia for rare summer steelhead and Coho salmon in the South Fork. The watershed’s serpentine soils support a unique assemblage of endemic plant species. Peregrine falcon and spotted owl nest in the watershed.

NW CA Hayfork Creek bridge walker. photo: Jason Smith

Hayfork Creek bridge walker. Photo: Jason Smith

Hayfork Creek (16.4 miles) – The South Fork Trinity’s largest tributary, Hayfork Creek supports moderate to high populations of salmon, steelhead trout, and resident native trout and it provides designated critical habitat for threatened Coho salmon. The creek carves a scenic gorge along the foot of Pattison Mountain. Many of the small streams draining into Hayfork Creek provide cold water refugia for the creek’s anadromous fish. Hayfork Creek also offers class IV-V whitewater boating opportunities. Much of Hayfork Creek is recommended for protection by the Forest Service.

Olsen Creek (2.8 miles) – A tributary of Hayfork Creek, the federal Coho recovery plan identifies Olsen Creek as a high priority restoration target. This Hayfork Creek tributary may also provide important thermal refugia for Coho and other anadromous fish. 

Rusch Creek (3.2 miles) – A tributary of Hayfork Creek, Rusch Creek is an important cold water contributor to Hayfork Creek and may provide a thermal refuge for anadromous fish. The creek supports moderate to high densities of steelhead.

Eltapom Creek (3.4 miles) – A government fisheries report describes Eltapom Creek as the “gem” of the South Fork Trinity due to its excellent spawning gravel, holding pools, and dense riparian corridor. A critical thermal refuge, the creek supports endangered Coho salmon and high densities of winter steelhead, and provides suitable habitat for spring Chinook salmon.

Grouse Creek (11.3 miles) – Grouse Creek is a high priority watershed for the restoration of Coho and other South Fork Trinity fish stocks. The creek is also offers potential thermal refugia for fish migrating up the South Fork. 

Madden Creek.

Madden Creek.

Madden Creek (8.4 miles) – Madden Creek is one of the few lower South Fork Trinity tributaries with good water quality due to its relatively undisturbed watershed. Cold water from Madden Creek creates a critical thermal refuge for Coho salmon migrating up the South Fork and the lower segment of the creek offers suitable habitat for Coho, Chinook, and steelhead.

Canyon Creek (17.8 miles) – Canyon Creek flows from an alpine lake in the Trinity Alps Wilderness past meadows, over waterfalls, and a through a rugged, heavily forested canyon to the Trinity River. The creek provides good steelhead and salmon habitat and is important for maintaining stocks of genetically pure, wild fish. The creek offers class III-IV whitewater boating opportunities and its canyon is one of the more popular trail routes into the Wilderness. The watershed provides habitat for Pacific fisher, marten, wolverine, bald eagle, spotted owl, and Peregrine falcon. The creek was recommended for protection by the Forest Service. 

NF Trinity River.

NF Trinity River.

North Fork Trinity River (27.7 miles) – The North Fork Trinity River rises from the Trinity Alps high country and flows south to the Trinity River. The North Fork provides excellent habitat for Coho and Chinook salmon, and steelhead and is important for maintaining genetically pure stocks of fish. The North Fork’s spectacular scenery, rugged canyon, and waterfalls attracts hikers, backpackers, anglers, and hunters. The river also offers class IV-V whitewater boating opportunities. The watershed provides habitat for Pacific fisher, marten, wolverine, bald eagle, spotted owl, and Peregrine falcon. The river is recommended for protection by the Forest Service. Of the 27.7 miles proposed for designation in H.R. 2250, 15.7 miles of the stream administratively designated under section 1273(a)(ii) in 1981 are legislatively re-designated to require a comprehensive river management plan.

East Fork North Fork Trinity River (17.4 miles) – Along with the North Fork Trinity and Canyon Creek, the East Fork North Fork is considered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to be an important stream for maintaining stocks of genetically pure wild anadromous fish. The stream supports summer steelhead, spring Chinook salmon, and Coho salmon. This East Fork tributary offers a short class III kayak run in its lower segment and class IV run in its middle segment.

New River watershed. Photo: Jason Smith.

New River watershed. Photo: Jason Smith.

Virgin Creek & New River (15 miles) – From its source in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, Virgin Creek cuts its way through bedrock and flows over numerous waterfalls on its journey to the New River. These streams support one of the largest remaining populations of rare summer steelhead in California, as well as spring Chinook and threatened Coho salmon. The New River provides excellent trail access to the scenic Trinity Alps Wilderness and it also offers class IV+ whitewater boating opportunities. The streams are recommended for protection by the Forest Service. Of the 15 miles proposed for designation in HR 2250, 2.3 miles of the New River administratively designated under section 1273(a)(ii) in 1981 are legislatively re-designated to require a comprehensive river management plan.

REDWOOD CREEK & TRIBUTARIES, Redwood National Park

Tall Trees Grove in Redwood National Park.

Tall Trees Grove in Redwood National Park.

Redwood Creek (27.6 miles) – Redwood Creek flows past old growth and second growth redwoods in Redwood National Park, including the tallest tree on Earth. The park is a World Heritage Site recognized by the United Nations. The creek supports and provides designated critical habitat for threatened Coho and Chinook salmon, as well as steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. Federal officials recently identified the creek as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. Ospreys nest along the creek and elk graze nearby prairies. The popular Redwood Creek Trail parallels much of the stream, which also offers class III whitewater boating opportunities. The National Park Service identified Redwood Creek to be free flowing and to possess an outstandingly remarkable botanical value (associated with the Tall Trees Grove). Redwood Creek flows through the largest remaining contiguous ancient coast redwood forest in the world and is an integral part of the Redwood National Park World Heritage Site. This legislation includes a 2.3-mile segment of Emerald Creek, a tributary of Redwood Creek that flows through the famous Tall Trees Grove. The upper 6.2 miles of Redwood Creek is proposed as a “potential” Wild and Scenic River pending acquisition for public conservation purposes.

Lacks Creek Canyon.

Lacks Creek Canyon.

Lacks Creek (7.8 miles) – A major tributary of Redwood Creek, Lacks Creek was determined by the BLM to be eligible for Wild & Scenic protection due to its outstanding old growth forests, anadromous fisheries, and scenery. Federal officials recently identified the creek as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. The public lands in the Lacks Creek watershed are managed by the BLM to provide a wide variety of outdoor recreation, including mountain biking, hiking, camping, angling, and hunting. The lower 2.7 miles of Lacks Creek is proposed as a “potential” Wild and Scenic River pending acquisition for public conservation purposes.

Lost Man Creek.

Lost Man Creek.

Lost Man Creek (8.7 miles) – Lost Man Creek and its tributary Larry Dam Creek, support self-sustaining populations of threatened Chinook and Coho salmon, threatened steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout. The streams are designated critical habitat for all three threatened salmonids and provide high quality refugia for these at-risk fish species. They are important to the recovery and expansion of the anadromous salmonid populations of the Redwood Creek basin. The outstanding and irreplaceable ecological values of these streams are recognized world-wide as part of the Redwood National Park World Heritage Site. In conjunction with Little Lost Man Creek, these streams provide an excellent opportunity for scientific study of disturbed and undisturbed watersheds.

Little Lost Man Creek (3.6 miles) – Supporting self-sustaining populations of Chinook and Coho salmon, steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout, this stream is important to the recovery and expansion of the anadromous salmonid populations of the Redwood Creek basin. Little Lost Man Creek has high potential to provide refugia for at-risk fish species. The outstanding and irreplaceable ecological values of this stream are recognized world-wide as part of the Redwood National Park World Heritage Site. Along with Lost Man and Larry Dam Creeks, Little Lost Man Creek provides an excellent opportunity for scientific study of disturbed and undisturbed watersheds.

HEADWATERS FOREST RIVERS

Headwaters Forest Rivers Little South Fork Elk River

Little South Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest.

Little South Fork and South Fork Elk River (9.4 miles) – As part of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, the South Fork and Little South Fork Elk River possess unparalleled ecological values. Coho and Chinook salmon, and steelhead spawn in the streams and the marbled murrelet and spotted owl nest in the adjacent old growth redwoods and Douglas firs. Federal officials recently identified the river and its tributaries as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. The historic site of Falk, a former mill town, is also located on the South Fork. The South Fork Trail is a popular hiking and biking destination for families. The river would be administered through a cooperative management agreement between the BLM and the State of California. The Little South Fork is recommended for protection by the BLM and the South Fork below the Little South Fork confluence was determined eligible.

Salmon Creek (4.6 miles) – Salmon Creek possesses unparalleled ecological values in the Headwaters Forest Reserve. Steelhead, Coho, and Chinook salmon spawn in Salmon Creek and marbled murrelet and spotted owl nest in the adjacent old growth redwoods and Doug firs. Federal officials identified the creek as essential for the recovery of threatened steelhead. The Salmon Creek Trail offers a popular docent-led hike through old growth redwoods. The creek would be administered through a cooperative management agreement between the BLM and the State of California. Salmon Creek is recommended for protection by the BLM.

SOUTH FORK EEL RIVER & TRIBUTARIES

Upper SF Eel Basin Rivers

Upper SF Eel Basin.

South Fork Eel River (12.3 miles) – The South Fork Eel River supports the largest concentration of naturally reproducing anadromous fish in the region. The river is designated critical habitat for threatened Chinook and Coho salmon, and steelhead trout. Federal officials recently identified the river as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. The upper portion of this segment is located on the Angelo Preserve managed for wild lands research by the University of California and is a component of the California Coast Ranges International Biosphere Reserve. Reserve access roads are open to public hiking. The lower portion flows through the existing South Fork Wilderness managed by the BLM. The river offers class IV-V whitewater boating opportunities. Administratively protected as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1981 under 16 USC Section 1273(a)(ii) due to its outstandingly remarkable anadromous fishery, the South Fork is proposed for legislative re-designation to require a comprehensive river management plan. The river would be administered through a cooperative management agreement between the BLM and the State of California (University of California).

Elder Creek (7 miles) – This pristine stream is a National Natural Landmark, Hydrologic Benchmark, and UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve. A tributary of the South Fork Eel River, the creek is an important contributor to the South Fork’s anadromous fishery. Providing designated critical habitat for threatened Coho salmon and steelhead, Elder Creek was recently identified as essential for the recovery of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. The upper creek segment is in the South Fork Wilderness managed by the BLM. The lower segment flows through UC Berkeley’s Angelo Preserve. The creek would be administered through a cooperative management agreement between the BLM and the State of California.

East Branch South Fork Eel River (23.1 miles) – The BLM found the East Branch South Fork Eel River and its Red Mountain tributaries to be eligible for Wild and Scenic protection because of their important anadromous fish habitat. Due to its source in the sponge-like serpentine soils of Red Mountain, extensive forest shading, swift flowing waters, and deep pools, the East Branch provides suitable conditions for salmon and steelhead even during drought. Federal officials recently identified the river as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. Peregrine falcon nest along the river. The East Branch South Fork is proposed as a “Potential Wild & Scenic River” – to be designated once sufficient lands are acquired by the BLM to make a manageable addition to the system.

Cedar Creek (9.6 miles) – Cedar Creek and its tributaries flows from the serpentine barrens of Red Mountain. The creek was found eligible for Wild and Scenic River protection by the BLM due to its high quality anadromous fish habitat, old growth forests, spotted owl nesting sites, and unique serpentine soils that support rare plants. Cedar Creek acts as a crucial wildlife corridor between the South Fork Eel and its East Branch.

KING RANGE RIVERS

Mattole River Estuary (1.5 miles) – Located in the King Range National Conservation Area, the Mattole Estuary provides important anadromous fish habitat for Coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead. The Mattole is a key watershed providing refugia for at-risk stocks of anadromous salmonids and resident fish. Federal officials recently identified the river as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. The estuary also provides habitat for several rare plants. A popular campground and recreation site near the mouth of the Mattole that attracts campers, hikers, hunters, and birders, and provides the northern access point for visitors hiking the Lost Coast Trail. The Mattole River is recommended for protection by the BLM.

Honeydew Creek.

Honeydew Creek.

Honeydew Creek (10.6 miles) – Honeydew Creek and its tributaries are in the King Range Wilderness. The creek provides suitable stream habitat for anadromous fish and old growth forest habitat for northern spotted owl. Federal officials recently identified the creek as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. Honeydew Creek is recommended for protection by the BLM.

 

SF Bear Creek.

SF Bear Creek.

Bear Creek (11 miles) – Bear Creek and its tributaries drain the eastside of the magnificent King Range. The creek provides suitable habitat for Coho salmon and steelhead, as well as old growth forests for northern spotted owl. Federal officials recently identified the creek as essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. Significant historic and prehistoric sites are located along the stream and a rare lichen grows there. Campgrounds providing a base camp for King Range visitors are located along Bear Creek, which is also the route of the popular Paradise Royale mountain bike trail. Bear Creek is recommended for protection by the BLM.

Gitchell Creek (3 miles) – Located in the King Range Wilderness, this highly scenic stream is part of a unique coastal backcountry backpacking and camping area along the Lost Coast Trail. The stream also provides spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead. Gitchell Creek is recommended for protection by the BLM.

Big Flat Creek.

Big Flat Creek. 

Big Flat Creek (7.5 miles) – Located in the King Range Wilderness, this highly scenic stream is part of a unique coastal backcountry backpacking and camping area along the Lost Coast Trail. The stream also provides spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead and federal officials recently identified the creek as essential for the recovery of threatened steelhead. Several significant prehistoric sites are located near the stream. Big Flat Creek is recommended for protection by the BLM.

Big Creek (4.6 miles) – Located in the King Range Wilderness, this highly scenic stream is part of a unique coastal backcountry backpacking and camping area along the Lost Coast Trail. The stream also provides spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead and federal officials identified the creek as essential for fish recovery. Big Creek is recommended for protection by the BLM.

UPPER EEL RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, Six Rivers and Mendocino National Forests

On the Middle Fork Eel River in the Yuki Wilderness. 

Middle Eel River, North Fork Middle Eel, Balm of Gilead Creek (62.7 miles) – From its source in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, the Middle Eel River flows south through rich conifer forests and oak woodlands. Administratively protected as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1981 under 16 USC Section 1273(a)(ii) due to its outstandingly remarkable anadromous fishery, the Middle Eel is proposed for legislative protection by the Forest Service. The river and its tributaries, including the North Fork Middle Eel and Balm of Gilead Creek, support one of the most important summer steelhead fisheries in California. A key watershed providing refugia for at-risk stocks of anadromous salmonids and resident fish, the upper Middle Eel is considered essential for the recovery of threatened steelhead. Goshawk and spotted owl utilize the forest habitat along the river. The river provides a variety of primitive recreation opportunities, including hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting. Balm of Gilead Creek plunges over 20-foot waterfalls into deep pools perfect for swimming. The upper Middle Eel River is recommended for protection by the Forest Service. Of the 50.1 miles proposed for designation in H.R. 2250, 24.8 miles administratively designated under section 1273(a)(ii) are proposed for legislative re-designation to require a comprehensive river management plan.

North Fork Eel River (14.3 miles) – Administratively protected as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1981 under 16 USC Section 1273(a)(ii) due to its outstandingly remarkable anadromous fishery, the North Fork is proposed for legislative protection by the Forest Service. Legislative re-designation will improve protection of the river by requiring a comprehensive river management plan. Historically, the North Fork support not only steelhead trout, but also Chinook and Coho salmon. The North Fork  is a key watershed providing refugia for at-risk stocks of anadromous salmonids and resident fish and is considered essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. The river canyon supports diverse habitat for several sensitive, threatened, and endangered species, including Peregrine falcon. Offering class III-V whitewater boating opportunities, the river flows through the North Fork Wilderness – one of the most remote and least visited wild areas in the region.

Red Mountain Creek (8.1 miles) – Red Mountain Creek flows westward from the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness to its confluence with the North Fork Eel. The creek supports a healthy anadromous fishery in its lower segment and resident trout upstream. As a tributary, the creek is part of the North Fork key watershed providing refugia for at-risk stocks of anadromous salmonids and resident fish and is considered essential for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead. Adjacent cliffs also provide habitat for Peregrine falcon. The creek also possesses important contemporary, historic, and prehistoric cultural values. The diverse geology through which the creek flows supports a picturesque mosaic of conifer and oak woodlands. 

Elk Creek (11.4 miles) – Elk Creek flows north from the Mendocino National Forest through mixed BLM lands to its confluence with the Middle Eel Wild & Scenic River. Elk Creek and its tributaries, Eden and Deep Hole Creeks, provide critical habitat for threatened steelhead and Chinook salmon. Elk Creek has also been identified as a high priority restoration target in the federal recovery plans for threatened steelhead and chinook salmon. The creek also has significant cultural resources in the stream corridor. Bald eagles are known to concentrate in the river corridor.

Eden Creek (2.7 miles) – Eden Creek flows through an unprotected roadless area to its confluence with Elk Creek. The stream corridor is rich in cultural values. The Elk Creek watershed (which includes Elk Creek) is essential for the recovery of threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead. The creek is an important producer of federally-listed steelhead trout. The drainage also provides Peregrine falcon habitat in the corridor.

Deep Hole Creek (4.3 miles) – Deep Hole Creek flows through a proposed addition to the Yuki Wilderness. A tributary of Elk Creek, the stream provides suitable spawning and rearing habitat for indigenous salmon and steelhead. The creek is part of a watershed considered essential for the recovery of threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead. The drainage also provides habitat for the threatened northern spotted owl.

Indian Creek (3.3 miles) – Draining a portion of the proposed English Ridge Wilderness, Indian Creek flows into the Eel Wild and Scenic River. The creek provides suitable habitat for indigenous salmon and steelhead. The creek flows through mixed public and private lands, which are protected through an easement held by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Fish Creek (4.2 miles) – Draining a portion of the proposed English Ridge Wilderness, Fish Creek flows into the Eel Wild and Scenic River and provides suitable habitat for indigenous salmon and steelhead. Forests along the creek support the threatened northern spotted owl. The creek flows through mixed public and private lands, which are protected through an easement held by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

0 Shares