Nez Perce National Forest
2,220,000 acres. Located in north central Idaho
Within the Nez Perce National Forest's heavily wooded hillsides and craggy peaks are diverse landscapes, activities, and life forms. Five rivers -- the Salmon's two branches, Selway, Clearwater, and the Snake -- promise impressive trout fishing and recreation. Elevation extremes support many ecological communities. Moist cedar groves, desert, and Hells Canyon form a patchwork quilt of ecosystems.
The Need for Trees
Although 2006 brought high flames to the Nez Perce, the prevailing story holds its share of triumph. Many years of fire suppression and prolonged drought resulted in potentially disastrous fuel loads. So, in spring 2006, forestry staff conducted prescribed burns to reduce dry litter. The outcome of a series of late summer storms was the Black Butte Fire. The storm's repeated lightning strikes and blustery winds created what a forest scout called a "big ugly." Fortunately, prescribed burning slowed the fire's spread and reduced its intensity. But the late summer fires created a need for replanting.
What We Are Doing
New seedlings are helping revive parts of the forest. Still in need of reforesting are the breakland canyons. More than 300,000 ponderosa pines are needed to stem landslides and runoff sedimentation due to the canyons' steep slopes, shielding elk and deer during winter.