The Ancient Mountain Cedar Grove

man standing next to very large cedar trees Largely spared from disturbance by its location on top of Moscow Mountain, this ancient old growth cedar grove is estimated to be 1,000 years old, with trees ten feet in diameter.

"It's a very unique place," says Moscow Mountain resident Mark Solomon. "We have springs that come out clear at the top of these ridges and they run year round. That allows cedar trees to be growing at 4,800 feet elevation, which is very unusual."

The state of Idaho owns the 300 acres of land that contains the cedars. It is located on the east end of the ridge of Moscow Mountain, and would go to the highest bidder if the state decided to sell it. The parcel of state school trust land, currently managed by the Department of Lands, is an excellent example of western red cedar/larch habitat.

large cedar trees

The Latah County commissioners, the Nature Conservancy, the state's Land Board, the University of Idaho, and local citizens are working together to try to preserve this special place. "Even the local timber industry is very much in favor of preserving this," says Solomon. "There aren't very many cedar/larch groves left in the world. Their uniqueness should be respected."

Past efforts to create a state park have failed. The Nature Conservancy leased the land for ten years, hoping that local leaders would be able to forge a workable solution. The Latah County commissioners are asking that they be allowed to manage and protect the grove.

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