Choosing which special places to include in “Idaho Edens” was not easy. In fact, in some ways, this was the hardest part of the process.

We certainly did not wish to damage the very things we were celebrating. So, we decided against maps; we decided not to pinpoint any particular place too closely; and the places we chose are currently being administered by some agency, like the U.S. Forest Service or The Nature Conservancy.

These are the fifteen special places we chose to feature in “Idaho Edens.”

Priest Lake


“From the air, Priest Lake maintains an almost prehistoric presence, the perfect blending of land and water and sky. This is Idaho’s northernmost big lake. Its clear waters nestle among forested fingers of hemlock and cedar, fir and pine.”


                      Priest Lake

Selkirk Mountains

“These are the mountains almost no one knows. There are places here that are still virtually impenetrable. Home to America’s only herd of mountain caribou, as well as wolverines, wolves, and an occasional grizzly bear, the Selkirk Mountains may be the wildest of Idaho’s ranges.”


               Selkirk Mountains

North Fork Clearwater River

“We admire their rhythms, their power, their ability to connect us to a place. Their currents absorb our imperfections and reflect our dreams. How we treat our rivers tell us much about ourselves. They challenge us with their intensity. They are where they are for a reason, the shaper of landscapes, the one constant in our lives.”


       North Fork Clearwater River

Canyonlands


“It is a calendar written in stone, an hourglass whereby we count the ages. These rivers encased in solid rock confound our sense of time. Every bend plays tricks on our sense of distance and direction. We shudder at the land’s indifference to our needs.”


                   Canyonlands

Box Canyon

“There is a place in the Idaho desert where water gushes from rock, where the icy blue of glaciers cascades down lava cliffs and bubbles up from river bottoms. Early settlers marveled at the sight, named it a Thousand Springs. But they were left to wonder how a land of little water could create such a dazzling display.”


                    Box Canyon

Silver Creek


“Shining amidst the sagebrush and farmland of southern Idaho is a jewel unlike any other. To some it represents an innovative experiment between landowners and conservationists. Many know it as, quite simply, the best dry fly fishing stream in the world.”


                    Silver Creek

Craters of the Moon

“Early sunlight bathes these solid flows in hues of incandescent softness; and one can easily imagine lava having the power to charm. But let the heat of the summer sun bake these tortured shapes, and suddenly this fevered landscape takes on the fierceness imagined by early travelers.”


               Craters of the Moon

Henry’s Fork


“Which is harder to imagine: the explosive force of a hundred Mt. St. Helens; or the eons of time required to produce the lushness that is Island Park? Even the ordinary in America’s largest circular caldera is extraordinary.”


                    Henry’s Fork

Formation Springs


“Formation Springs is one of Idaho’s true oases, always flowing, even on the coldest of days, always providing food and shelter for wildlife and fish. The water springs from deep within the earth, cold water, estimated to be 13,000 years old.”


               Formation Springs

American Falls Reservoir

“To us it is the largest body of water on the Snake River, the backwaters of the largest reservoir in Idaho. But to these eloquent expressions of nature’s freedom and joy, it is a paradise, where 200 of the state’s 400 bird species stop to eat, to nest, to rest on their incredible roundtrip journeys to other continents.”


          American Falls Reservoir

Hells Canyon


“It is a coliseum of wonders, a land of extremes, a place where the traveler can experience arid desert within walking distance of alpine forest, where the temperature can vary by fifty degrees within a few hours.”


                      Hells Canyon

Seven Devils Mountains


“To the ancient ones, it was a place of mystery, where, legend has it, seven ogres stood guard over Hells Canyon, tormenting ordinary mortals. These are the building blocks for the grand canyon of the Snake River, the most dramatic state boundary in the nation.”


          Seven Devils Mountains

Salmon River Country

“It is the spirit heart of Idaho, the remnant heart of America… Underpinned by the great dome of the Idaho batholith, the Frank Church River of No Return wilderness proves our commitment to honor special places. It is a gift to the country, of all that is wild and untamable.”


            Salmon River Country

Sawtooth Mountains

“If there is a vision that Idahoans carry with them of their state, this may be it, this work of granite, ice, rain, and wind. It is the most photographed region of the state. Yet only from the air can one capture the true three-dimensional feel, the awesome depth and width and length that is the Sawtooth Mountain range.”


             Sawtooth Mountains

White Cloud Mountains

“From the vantage point of the Stanley Basin, their allure is not easily accessible. They do require effort on our part. But perhaps that makes these mountains all the more special. We call them the White Clouds, an evocative description for a range capped and streaked with metamorphic silicates.”


           White Cloud Mountains

 

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