The Elk Summit roadless area was once part of the Selway-Bitterroot Primitive Area. When the area was reclassified by Forest Service administrative fiat back in 1963 (just prior to the passage of the Wilderness Act), the Forest Service ripped huge chunks out of the Primitive area. Elk Summit was one of these. The Service thought these would be better opened for logging. The Walton Lakes area in Elk Summit was one such place.
Elk Summit has the densest population of moose in central Idaho. If the grizzly bear is ever reintroduced to central Idaho, Elk Summit would likely be prime habitat. In the meantime, the area continues to be threatened by money-losing Forest Service timber sales, It was hoped that President Clinton's roadless area rule would hold logging at bay, but the Bush Administration undid the roadless rule.
Photo looking over the canyon of White Sand Creek upstream from the Elk Summit Roadless area (inside the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness). © George Wuerthner.
White Sand Creek. © Friends of the Clearwater