The proposed additions are clustered along the canyon of the North Fork Eel Wild and Scenic River which is where the North Fork Wilderness is situated.
The existing 8,100-acre North Fork Wilderness is almost certainly the least visited of all of northern California’s designated wilderness areas. This lack of visitors is not due to its features or habitat, but simply because it is located far from any major thoroughfares and population centers in extremely remote, rugged country.
The proposed additions shelter important low-elevation old-growth forest as well as wildflower-dappled grasslands, oak woodlands and chaparral. 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 provides habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout in its rugged and beautiful canyon. Red Mountain Creek Proposed Wild and Scenic River, a tributary of the North Fork that drains a large portion of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness to the east, also hosts steelhead trout and provides cold, clear water essential for the health of the river. Bluff Creek, another tributary that flows through the additions, provides habitat for both coho salmon and steelhead.
Lastly, the North Fork Eel provides challenging whitewater opportunities for experienced kayakers and rafters. The additions are mostly trackless, though there are a few rugged historic trails through the region.