Boulder-White Clouds

Wilderness status means Boulder-White Clouds rugged landscape and valuable wildlife habitat will be safeguarded against threats like increased off-road vehicle use and mining, preserving its outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities.

In 2015, Congress passed legislation to permanently protect Idaho’s stunning Boulder-White Clouds region as federally designated wilderness. This victory was the culmination of decades of hard work by The Wilderness Society and in-state grassroots leaders, conservation and sporting group and Congressional champions

In the upper Salmon River region, the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains dominate a landscape that harbors bighorn sheep, black bears, wolves, mountain goats and elk. Prior to its wilderness designation, this was one of the largest intact roadless areas in the country that lacked permanent protection.

Work we are doing

The Boulder-White Clouds. Credit: Ed Cannady Photography.

Wilderness designation

In 2015, The Wilderness Society and local partners saw years of advocacy lead to a federal wilderness designation protecting over 275,000 acres of snowy peaks and gorgeous lake-filled in the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains.

Prominent Idahoans, including former governor Cecil Andrus, voiced their support for permanently protecting the Boulder-White Clouds over the years. In addition to preserving beautiful landscape, protecting this area should help boost the economy of nearby counties, increasing tourism by millions annually.

Comprehensive management to protect wilderness values

The Wilderness Society is working to ensure that land is managed properly in the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness. The wilderness spans two different national forests and Burea of Land Management lands. Federal agencies currently use three uncoordinated plans in the area, which has led to  the fragmentation of migratory routes for species like elk and salmon. The Wilderness Society is working with  partners and land managers to develop a landscape management plan that ensures the comprehensive protection of wilderness, wildlife and native fish in the  Boulder-White Clouds.

In addition to the wilderness plan, The Wilderness Society will be working to see that other provisions of the legislative protection are implemented, including voluntary retirement of livestock grazing land in key salmon and bull trout watersheds. 

Our partners

The Wilderness Society works closely with both in-state grassroots leaders and national conservation groups to help permanently protect the Boulder-White Clouds.

  • Jennifer Dickson

    Today, the Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auctioned off parcels of federal public lands in southeastern Utah’s spectacular redrock country for oil and gas leasing and development. Included in BLM’s lease sale are approximately 54,000 acres of public lands near Bears Ears, Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients National Monuments, as well as in the culturally rich Alkali Ridge area of critical environmental concern and along the Green and San Juan rivers.

  • Andrea Alday

    Unfortunately, BLM’s latest draft closely mirrors prior attempts that a federal court found illegal. The draft plan once again inadequately protects areas with high conservation and cultural values and prioritizes off-road vehicles over other uses. It appears the agency has struck out when it comes to honoring its legal obligation to protect irreplaceable resources in the desert.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Wilderness Society will host a discussion for journalists working on energy, environment and climate issues on March 20 at the National Press Club. Panelists will focus on developments and trends from the last year and what that may portend for the year ahead.