The Long Canyon-Selkirk Crest roadless area
The Selkirk Mountains begin in northeast Washington and in the "Panhandle" of Idaho (northern Idaho). From there they march northward for several hundred miles into British Columbia where they eventual merge with other ranges into the Cariboo Range.
One small portion of the American Selkirks as been set aside as the Salmo-Priest Wilderness in Washington.
Harrison Lake and Harrison Peak. Selkirk Crest. © Ralph Maughan
Long Canyon is the last major drainage in the American Selkirks of Idaho that has not been logged or roaded. It is a U-shaped, i.e., glaciated, 18-mile long drainage that is a corridor from the broad and low elevation Kootenay Valley (Purcell Trench) though a verdant old growth forest, onto the rugged, high, glacier-carved granite ridges of the Selkirk's crest. The upper parts of some other canyons have not yet been logged.
The crest of the American Selkirks has been protected from logging, and no roads cross it for many miles. The photo below shows the crest zone at Two Mouths Creek. A long, but skinny Selkirk Crest Zone extends about 40 miles from near Sandpoint almost to the Canadian Border. Significantly, however, the Forest Service logged the two miles south of the border. Now most of the logging roads are gated because the logging harmed the grizzly bear. Idaho Department of Lands manages much of the west side of the the Selkirk Crest. Their motto might as well be "loot" and "pillage."
Dawn on the Selkirk Crest at one of the Two Mouths Lakes
© Ralph Maughan
There are 24 sub-alpine lakes tucked away in the narrow roadless crest portion of the proposed wilderness area. The lower part of Long Canyon has a rare (due to logging) interior rain forest with western red cedar, white pine, larch, hemlock, and gigantic Douglas fir. Description of the Long Canyon trail.
Among the numerous species of wildlife in the area, are the endangered woodland caribou, grizzly bear, and an occasional gray wolf.
From their Idaho beginning, the Selkirks are an impressive range. Their dramatic form increases north of Idaho in British Columbia where glaciers cling to magnificent spires. A few portions of the Canadian Selkirks have been protected, such as Kokanee Glacier, the Goat Range and Valhalla Provincial Parks, but, by and large, British Columbia folks struggle against the same kind of short-sighted interests as those in northern Idaho.
Twenty-five to 35 grizzly bears struggle to hang onto existence in the Selkirk Mountains between Idaho and small city of Nelson, B.C., but logging on both sides of the border may extinguish them.
American wilderness supporters are proposing a big Selkirk Crest Wilderness. They also want to restore them from the damage done by logging.
The Lands Council. Protecting the Selkirk Mountains.
Below: folks in B.C. who need help protecting the Canadian Selkirks
● B.C. Spaces for Nature
● B.C. Chapter of CPAWS (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society)
● Description and photos of the Selkirks in British Columbia. (my page)
Long Canyon-Selkirk Crest roadless area/ revised last 02/04/2005 / Email Ralph Maughan
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