Fact Sheet: Desert

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 sunderwoodalmon, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

0 Shares