The five-year initiative will focus on improving the region's forest health, restore rivers, and promote socially and ecologically sustainable recreation.
In partnership with the Sawtooth National Forest in central Idaho, the National Forest Foundation is pleased to announce the Sawtooth Rivers to Peaks Treasured Landscape site, a brand new, five-year initiative designed to improve the region's forest health, restore rivers, and promote socially and ecologically sustainable recreation.
Through the National Forest Foundation's (NFF) Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences program, NFF is working to secure and invest $1.6M over the next five years into key public land projects Ketchum Ranger District and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Funds will be invested back into the local community to benefit the National Forest and increase local groups' capacity to remain involved with forest stewardship. Treasured Landscape sites are selected in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and approved by NFF's National Forest Leadership Council and Board of Directors.
The Sawtooth National Forest and all that these lands provide are the reason why many of us live here. It's about quality of life, and we're lucky to be able to call this our backyard. We've seen that we can't just assume this place will be this way forever, and protecting and restoring it takes work and investment. I am so pleased that NFF has selected the Sawtooth National Forest to invest in. It couldn't come at a better time.
The Sawtooth Rivers to Peaks site spans Hailey to Stanley, Idaho, and includes the Ketchum Ranger District and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Priority projects will focus on the restoration of rivers and wetlands, improved native forest and plant communities' resilience, maintenance of recreational infrastructure, and improved forest visitor stewardship. Examples include:
- Local reforestation, including on the Wood River Valley's Bald Mountain
- Restoring youth fishing access to Penny Lake
- Seeding and replanting after wildfire to recover wildlife habitat
- Improving trailheads and trail conditions to minimize impacts on natural resources, including an upgrade to the trail systems and parking in the Adam's Gulch area
- Relocating dispersed campsites that are adversely impacting rivers and wetlands
- Big Wood Travel Plan implementation
- Supporting local engagement in forest management through the facilitation of the 5B Restoration Coalition and Sawtooth Valley Wildland Fire Collaborative
"The Sawtooth National Forest draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from all over the world. 2020 was no exception. The Forest saw extraordinarily high levels of use across the area. We continually strive to strike a balance between recreational enjoyment and preservation of natural places. We are looking forward to working with the National Forest Foundation in the years to come to update and maintain recreational infrastructure, restore our rivers and forests and continue to foster visitor stewardship," Kirk Flannigan, Acting Forest Supervisor, Sawtooth National Forest
The National Forest Foundation has worked in partnership with the Sawtooth National Forest and local community since 2015, following the Beaver Creek Fire. To date, NFF has invested more than $350,000 into the area's National Forests. NFF convenes and facilitates the 5B Restoration Coalition and Bald Mountain Workgroup.
About the Sawtooth National Forest
The Sawtooth National Forest is a place of inspiring beauty and contrasting landscapes. National forest lands stretch from the "basin and range" of northern Utah to the Idaho Rockies' lofty peaks and the headwaters of the legendary "River of No Return." This diversity is coupled with contrast in seasons, creating winter wonders and summer scenes. The Forest is home to deer, elk, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. Gray wolves, wolverines, black bears, salmon, and many species of birds also thrive here. Trails, campgrounds, Wilderness, river, and scenic drives give visitors plenty of opportunities to connect with this extraordinary land. Learn more at https://www.fs.usda.gov/sawtooth/
About the National Forest Foundation
The National Forest Foundation promotes the enhancement and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF improves forest health and Americans' outdoor experiences. The NFF's programs inform millions of Americans about the importance of these treasured landscapes. Each year, the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects, and disease, improve recreational opportunities, and enables communities to steward their National Forests and Grasslands.
To learn more about the Sawtooth Rivers to Peak site, please visit www.nationalforests.org/rivers2peaks