Wilderness ranch land trade
proposed by feds
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
To resolve the trespass of private
buildings on public land near the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the
Salmon River, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing a land exchange with
the owners of the Sulphur Creek Ranch.
An additional conservation
easement and land purchase could help the Salmon-Challis National Forest
prevent any further development at the remote wilderness area
"The combination of the three
items would preserve and protect in perpetuity the natural features and
values of the Sulphur Creek Ranch property consistent with the primitive
expectations of the wilderness," according to John Haugh, acting Middle
Fork District ranger.
The 159-acre ranch borders Sulphur
Creek, which is the first major tributary that flows into the Middle
Fork downstream of the Boundary Creek launch site. The ranch is several
miles upstream from the creek’s confluence with the Middle Fork and is
inside the borders of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
According to Haugh, the Forest
Service is proposing to exchange 4.95 acres of public land for about
5.043 acres of the ranch. Haugh said 11 ranch buildings have been built
on Forest Service land. Some were built as recently as the 1980s.
Haugh said the federal land the
buildings were inadvertently built on is on the edge of a meadow, while
the private land the Forest Service stands to gain is along the creek,
including 3 acres of wetlands and 2 acres of floodplain.
In addition to the land exchange,
the Forest Service is proposing to buy 75 acres of the Sulpher Creek
Ranch and buy an 84-acre conservation easement on the remaining
The purchase prices for the
easement and land have not been negotiated, Haugh said.
Comments about the proposal should
be addressed to John Haugh, Middle Fork Acting Deputy District Ranger,
P.O. Box 750, Challis, ID 83226. Emails should be sent to email@example.com.
Comments will be most helpful if
received by April 12.