The Wilderness Society's Craig Gehrke speaks at the unveiling of a project to make Idaho's Bruneau Canyon Overlook safer and more accessible.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) unveiled plans for the project at a Sept. 16 ceremony at Bruneau Canyon, where Craig Gehrke, regional director of The Wilderness Society’s Idaho office, also spoke.
The project will add trails for people with disabilities, safety railings, an information kiosk and other amenities to Bruneau Canyon Overlook. It is the only reachable spot from which to view the eponymous river and the gorge it carved through this stretch of igneous desert—a 13,000-foot-wide, 800-foot-deep, 60-mile-long natural marvel that draws visitors from throughout Idaho and the country.
Bruneau Canyon. Credit: Craig Gehrke.
The improvements were first proposed by The Wilderness Society to allow more people to experience the Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness, which can be viewed from the overlook. The project launches in collaboration with the Montana Conservation Corps, Northwest Youth Corps, Utah Conservation Corps and others.
The Bruneau project is just one of 50 conservation projects launched in June by The Wilderness Society and the Partnership of the 21st Century Conservation Corps to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which gave Americans a tool to protect the country’s last best wild places for generations to come.
“This is a fitting tribute to the Wilderness Act and the great wild heritage of our state,” said Gehrke, an Idaho native. “Just as that law codified a responsibility we have to keep some parts of the land inviolate and available for the good of the people, this project puts its spirit to work—making sure that ordinary Americans can safely experience the natural treasures they all own, while still protecting the values that make it such a special place.”
The “Fifty for the 50th” projects will build and restore miles of trails; clear habitat of invasive species; make acres of local green spaces more accessible for communities; and engage scores of young people and veterans in protecting America’s greatest treasures.