June 2, 2022 – The Wilderness Land Trust recently worked with the US Forest Service (USFS) to add 82 acres to Oregon’s Hells Canyon Wilderness Area. The private parcel, which is on a scenic bench above the Snake River and has the Reservoir Bench Trail running through it, is in the heart of the wilderness area and threatened the public access to the trail and the ecological integrity of the area.
This project was unique in the fact that the Trust acquired and transferred the property on the same day. The USFS had been working directly with the landowners, Idaho Power, and already had the due diligence completed and funding lined up to acquire the property. The two parties, both informed by their own bureaucratic process, came to a stalemate over legal documents and the Trust was called to step in as a third party.
The Wilderness Land Trust is designed to be nimble and to take on risk if the end goal is to create a stronger, more unified wilderness. We were created that way for this exact situation. The Trust was able to step in with the flexibility to get the deal done. Now, the Hells Canyon Wilderness is one step closer to being whole.
As we continue to celebrate 30 years of accomplishments, this project proved that these accomplishments are ever-building. The more we complete in a professional, efficient manner, the more we’re able to do. We are forever grateful to be called upon by our strong federal partners to do the work of keeping the promise of wilderness. And we are forever grateful to you, our supporters, for ensuring that we’re around to receive that call.