The finest remaining ancient forests in the Northwest lie along streams. One virgin watershed is the Silver Creek basin near Cle Elum, Washington. Silver Creek was never roaded or logged, but was owned by Plum Creek Timber Company in a checkerboard with the U.S. Forest Service. In 1994, Western Rivers Conservancy helped protect from logging 2,240 acres of old growth in the Silver Creek basin.
Silver Creek forms a hanging valley above the Yakima River plain, serving as a pathway for hikers and elk and home for herds of mountain goats. When a proposed land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service collapsed, Plum Creek made plans to build roads into the basin and begin logging the old growth. At the request of the Alpine Lakes Protection Society, Western Rivers Conservancy negotiated the U.S. Forest Service's purchase of the land. The valley is now managed by the Wenatchee National Forest.
Photo credits: Mat Millenbach