Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is a protected wilderness area located in Idaho. It was created in 1980 by the United States Congress as the River of No Return Wilderness Area, and renamed in 1984 as the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in honor of Congressman Frank Church.
At 2.3 million acres (9300 km²), it is the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness in the continental United States. Together with the adjacent Gospel Hump Wilderness and surrounding unprotected roadless Forest Service land, it is the core of a 3.3 million acre (13300 km²) roadless area. It is separated from the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, to the north, by a single dirt road.
The wilderness is famous for its large population of mountain lions, and grey wolves are believed to visit the area. The wilderness contains parts of several mountain ranges, including the Salmon River Mountains , the Clearwater Mountains , and the Bighorn Crags . The ranges are split by the steep canyons of the Middle and Main forks of the Salmon River. Most of the area is covered by coniferous forests, with dry, open land along the rivers at lower elevations.
The Salmon River is a popular destination for whitewater rafting, and is colloquially known as the "River of No Return" for its swift currents which makes upstream travel difficult.
While designation as a Wilderness Area in the United States generally requires the prohibition of any motorized machinery, the use of jetboats and several airstrips are permitted in this wilderness, as grandfathered pre-existing uses before the wilderness was designated.
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