Idaho

Salmon River

Conserving the longest salmon pathway in the West

As one of Idaho's premier outdoor destinations, the Salmon River draws anglers, hikers, boaters, campers and equestrians from all over.
As one of Idaho's premier outdoor destinations, the Salmon River draws anglers, hikers, boaters, campers and equestrians from all over.
Photography | Dave Jensen
The Salmon flows freely for 425 miles with only one low dam near the headwaters. It is truly one of the West's most outstanding rivers.
The Salmon flows freely for 425 miles with only one low dam near the headwaters. It is truly one of the West's most outstanding rivers.
Photography | Dave Jensen
Salmon River
Heitsuman property rises above the Salmon River near Pine Bar.
Photography | Dave Jensen
Conservation of the Heitstuman property protects six cold, high-gradient tributaries that flow into the Salmon River and directly influence habitat quality for five ESA-listed fish, including sockeye, spring/summer Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout.
Conservation of the Heitstuman property protects six cold, high-gradient tributaries that flow into the Salmon River and directly influence habitat quality for five ESA-listed fish, including sockeye, spring/summer Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout.
Photography | Dave Jensen
Salmon River
Salmon River looking up at west end of Heckman Ranch.
Photography | Dave Jensen
Indian paintbrush and balsamroot bloom over the Salmon River. The conservation property is dominated by spectacular viewsheds like this one along two miles of the river.
Indian paintbrush and balsamroot bloom over the Salmon River. The conservation property is dominated by spectacular viewsheds like this one along two miles of the river.
Photography | Dave Jensen
In 2014, Western Rivers Conservancy conserved a 1,284-acre property surrounding the BLM's Pine Bar Recreation Site. Conveyance of these lands to the BLM enhances conditions for imperiled salmon and steelhead and protects habitat for bighorn sheep, elk, cougar and black bear.
In 2014, Western Rivers Conservancy conserved a 1,284-acre property surrounding the BLM's Pine Bar Recreation Site. Conveyance of these lands to the BLM enhances conditions for imperiled salmon and steelhead and protects habitat for bighorn sheep, elk, cougar and black bear.
Photography | Dave Jensen

On a scenic bend in Idaho’s legendary Salmon River, Western Rivers Conservancy protected a dramatic viewshed and ensured the widely-loved Pine Bar Recreation Site remains forever accessible. The project, our first on the Salmon River, began in 2012 when we acquired 1,284 acres on a spectacular bend above the river. We purchased the land with the goal of conserving both the viewshed and the high-gradient creeks that tumble down the mountainside to nourish the river. The streams that flow through the property directly influence habitat quality for five threatened or endangered fish species, including sockeye, spring/summer Chinook, fall Chinook, steelhead and migratory bull trout. In summer 2014, we conveyed this strategically located property to the BLM, which will now steward the lands for the sake of the Salmon River’s fish and wildlife and to ensure access to Pine Bar remains unfettered and compatible with conservation.

Our efforts at Pine Bar are integral to our larger vision to ensure the Salmon River and its unique riverland habitat stay healthy and accessible to all. The Salmon River is the longest, wildest and cleanest major river in the Rockies, flowing 425 miles from its headwaters in the Sawtooth Mountains to its confluence with the Snake River in Hells Canyon. Its salmon and steelhead, which migrate farther than any anadromous fish in the West, navigate over 900 miles on their epic journey from the Pacific Ocean.

The project conserves prime winter range for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer and habitat for black bear and mountain lion. The steep grasslands are believed to shelter two ESA-listed plants—Spalding’s catchfly and MacFarlane’s four o’clock—and to support sensitive species like peregrine and prairie falcon, mountain quail and western toad.

Besides providing outstanding fish and wildlife habitat, the Salmon River is habitat for outdoor enthusiasts. As one of Idaho’s premier outdoor recreation destinations, the river draws some 600,000 annual visitors, including anglers, hunters, whitewater rafters, campers, hikers, equestrians and outfitters. The Pine Bar Recreation Site is heavily used for boating access, day-use and camping for more than nine months of the year. Because access to the Pine Bar site is through the Heitstuman property, our efforts effectively ensure Pine Bar remains open to the public forever.

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