Frank Church Wilderness Property Protected

July 6, 2012

The Trust for Public Land today announced the purchase of a critical 80-acre private property in the heart of the Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, Idaho. This land will be added to the Frank Church and made available for all to enjoy as unspoiled wilderness.

The Trust for Public Land worked with the landowners and the U.S. Forest Service to protect a portion of the Morgan Ranch, a private homestead dating to the gold-rush era of the late 1800s.

The Forest Service bought the property for $570,000. Funding to purchase the property came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal government's main source of money for protecting land. It is funded by royalties paid by energy companies in exchange for oil and gas extraction from federal offshore leases.

For more than 20 years, The Trust for Public Land has been helping the Forest Service acquire privately owned property within the Frank Church wilderness, including the 722-acre Thunder Mountain property, sold in 2005. At 2.3 million acres, the Frank Church is the country's second-largest protected wilderness area.

"We are delighted to once again protect a gem in the wilderness," says Deb Love, Northern Rockies Director of The Trust for Public Land. "This is our ninth conservation project in the Frank Church, one of the wildest places left in our country. We're happy to help keep it wild."

The Morgan Ranch property is about 35 miles from Stanley, Idaho, and is located just downstream from the Boundary Creek put-in, the most popular access point on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Wildlife in this area includes rare species like the salmon and steelhead trout, as well as wolf, bighorn sheep, black bear, and wolverine.

Over the past decade, the Forest Service has been working to protect key resources along the Salmon River and its tributaries by securing interests in privately-owned properties, known as inholdings, from willing sellers.

The Trust for Public Land is the nation's leader in creating parks in cities and helping local communities creating funding to protect the places they love. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres in 47 states, including more than 600,000 acres throughout the Northern Rockies-places where people love to live, work, and play.