WRC Blog

We Did It! WRC breathes new life into headwaters of the Middle Fork Salmon River

Nov 14th, 2019  |  Written by Western Rivers Conservancy

We Did It! WRC breathes new life into headwaters of the Middle Fork Salmon River
Photo by Kirk Anderson

Great news! Western Rivers Conservancy protected another critical salmon stream high in the Idaho Rockies—this time at the source of the Middle Fork Salmon River.

This fall, we successfully transferred the 158-acre Cape Horn Ranch to the Salmon-Challis National Forest, permanently conserving a vital stretch of the headwater spawning stream Knapp Creek, which feeds Marsh Creek and the celebrated Middle Fork Salmon.

The project is of special importance when it comes to water and fish. Cape Horn Ranch historically used up to 75 percent of Knapp Creek’s water, severely limiting habitat for salmon, steelhead and bull trout. WRC was able to transfer those rights to the state of Idaho, ensuring this water stays permanently in-stream, especially during the critical spawning and rearing seasons when these imperiled fish need it most.

Wildlife, especially birds, will benefit too. During breeding season, the braided creek channels and surrounding wet meadows of Marsh Creek and Knapp Creek support countless waterfowl, including one of the highest nesting densities of sandhill cranes in the upper Salmon River basin.

And as an added bonus, we were able to guarantee permanent recreational and management access to the Cape Horn Guard Station, a popular destination for hikers and cross-country skiers.

Your support was crucial to making this project possible. Thank you!