Rapids, Wolves, and Winter

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Rapids, Wolves, and Winter

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    Forrest G McCarthy
    BPL Member


    Locale: Planet Earth

    I am the Public Lands Director for Winter Wildlands Alliance. Our involvement with legally challenging the decision to allow helicopters in the Wilderness Areas was based on protecting the areas wilderness character not wolves.

    Personally, I support wolves being in the Frank Church. However, that was not the point of the trip or the article. It was about up-holding the Wilderness Act and having great adventure while doing so. The 1964 Wilderness Act (and all the subsequent Wilderness Bills) IMHO, are the greatest (bi-partisan) legislation ever passed. Wilderness protection protects our American heritage of having big wild places where we can have big wild adventures. Personally, I think these adventures are even better when they involve big wild creatures – even if they might eat you.

    FYI: I am a hunter that lives in Western Wyoming where there are many wolves. Currently Wyoming elk populations are almost all above target. No doubt, the wolf re-introduction has changed elk behavior. However, by adapting my hunting strategy accordingly I have had no problem filling my freezer with elk – even in the heart of wolf (and grizzly) country.

    Devin Montgomery
    BPL Member


    Locale: one snowball away from big trouble

    An absolutely great report, Forrest. It's an odd argument for them to make – that somehow wilderness must have a certain degree of use in order to receive all the protection of the wilderness designation. Maybe that leads us to a new take on the old riddle: "If a helicopter lands in the wilderness, and nobody is there to hear it, does it ruin the 'primeval character' of the land?"

    George Matthews
    BPL Member



    Well done! Thanks.

    The world needs more human beings like you.

    Andrew Wolff


    Locale: Chattanooga

    Very nice trip and article Forrest, I only wish I were on that list of adventure buddies.

    Brad Groves
    BPL Member


    Locale: Michigan

    "The associated stench of two-stroke snowmobile exhaust made the twenty-five-mile ski–on a snowmobile trail–to the wilderness boundary less appealing."

    Therein lies the trick. To get to the wilderness areas, you usually have to cross non-wilderness land. I dislike running into motorized modes of transport in the backcountry, too, but I gotta say if I'm on a snowmobile trail I'd kind of expect to see them periodically. The same's true paddling across lakes to a wilderness boundary, to the sound of fishing boats.

    Very glad to see/hear of someone making the effort & point behind this trip.

    I wasn't quite clear on how the plans changed… ie, on the initial start was the ski in a few miles or 20 before turning around? I'm guessing the cheeseburger wasn't part of the plans!

    Mmmmm… Doing drag-overs in snowy, icy conditions. Awesome!

    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Right there

    So how many nights did you guys stay out there and how many miles did you actually travel?

    alastair humphreys
    BPL Member


    Locale: UK

    amazing trip!

    Brian Vogt
    BPL Member


    As a whitewater boater, I'm pleased to see folks visiting this great river corridor in the off season. Kudos!

    But I'm a little bit troubled by this article. It is written to publicize a trip whose point d'etre was to promote the protection of wilderness and the enforcement of the regulations that guarantee wilderness protection.

    However, I don't see any evidence of fire pans or groovers, both mandatory systems for river use in the whole of the FCRNW. I'll skip the trashing on snowmobiles while hiring a plane debate, which is confusing to say the least, as that area is not under wilderness protection.

    Perhaps the author could share with us why these regulations were ignored, or, if they weren't ignored, could share with us how they met those requirements. I see a photo of a fire with no firepan, which is simply not in compliance with the very regulations the trip sought to support.

    So much of wilderness attitudes seems predicated on what one wants for their own trip to be first class, and not on the compromises we all have to make to ensure that wilderness experience will be there for the next person. This is a prime example. And I while I understand, even sympathize, I can't condone.


    Forrest G McCarthy
    BPL Member


    Locale: Planet Earth


    We used an aluminum turkey pan for all our fires except, for the small fire we made at the confluence with Big Creek where we roasted hot dogs for lunch. This fire was made on a gravel bar near waterline, when the river was on the rise. Any evidence that remained of the fire was washed away within a day or two. The intent of requiring fire pans is to maintain the areas untrammeled natural character. In no way did we violate this.

    In regards to a groover: we used wag-bags packed in a dry-bag.


    We spent two nights on the Marsh Fork (about 20 miles) and 2 additional nights walking out from Dagger Falls back to the highway (also about 20 miles). We then flew back in for two night and the last 30 miles to the confluence with the Main Salmon.

    Brian Vogt
    BPL Member


    for clarifying — and making the effort to comply.

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