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Backpacker Magazine – June 2009

America's Newest Wilderness

A quick guide to the best acres, trails, and views.

by: Charlie Wood

Spring Basin Wilderness (Doug Steakley)
Spring Basin Wilderness (Doug Steakley)
Rocky Mountain (Jim Davis/Onda.org)
Rocky Mountain (Jim Davis/Onda.org)
Washington County (Jim Dohms)
Washington County (Jim Dohms)

Virginia

Virginia Ridge and Valley
Land protected 39,105 acres in Jefferson National Forest
Natural wonder 300-year- old hemlocks
Champion Virginia Wilderness Coalition (vawilderness.org)
See it now Take the steep and seldom-used Stone Mountain Trail from the Cave Spring Campground 5.7 miles through huge boulders and tulip trees.
Info: fs.fed.us/r8/gwj

West Virginia

Wild Monongahela
Land protected 37,771 acres in six areas within Monongahela National Forest
Natural wonder Snowshoe hare
Champion WV Wilderness Coalition (wvwild.com)
See it now Take the Blackbird Knob Trail two miles to link with unnamed trails in the Dolly Sods expansion. Turn right at every junction for a 12-mile loop.
Info: fs.fed.us/r9/mnf

Idaho

Owyhee Public Lands Management
Land protected 517,025 acres in six new wilderness areas
Natural wonder An intersection where five canyons meet
Champion Owyhee Initiative (owyheeinitiative.org)
See it now This long-lost cousin of the Grand Canyon is best seen from a raft ($825, riverdrifters.net). Late spring brings ideal flows in the 1,000-foot-deep canyon.
Info: blm.gov/id




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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Joel Hauschild
Apr 05, 2012

Calypso Cascades

The RMNP trail does go by falls and follows a mountain stream. But there are no lakes between the trail head and the cascades. You have to hike another 2-4 miles before you will see a lake. It is a high traffic wilderness area. Nothing like the other parts in the park.

Not true
Apr 05, 2012

Not true rather

Not true
Apr 05, 2012

At least not in Idaho/Utah, wilderness does mean all roads closed, and Zero motorized vehicles,period. Been air traffic is restricted. You hardly see anyone a couple miles in, and 20 miles in, forget it, it's wild life. Absolutely true for national parks though, as they make it easy for campers and such.

wayne gould
Apr 05, 2012

The best way to protect wildlife habitat is to close all roads and re-plant them. Once it is deemed a wilderness area it is sure to have excessive human visitation.

wayne gould
Apr 05, 2012

The best way to protect wildlife habitat is to close all roads and re-plant them. Once it is deemed a wilderness area it is sure to have excessive human visitation.

Anonymous
Feb 24, 2011

One of the surest ways I know to increase people in an area is to designate it 'wilderness.'

Doug Welker
Feb 24, 2011

The correct link for the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition is www.wvwild.org, NOT www.wvwild.com.

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