Recreational Areas in Hells Canyon
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. This is the site of one of the largest elk herds in the United States, plus 422 other species, including bald eagles, bighorn sheep, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bears, bobcats, cougars, beavers, otters, and rattlesnakes. The peregrine falcon has also been reintroduced here. Part of the area was designated as Hells Canyon Wilderness, in parts of Oregon and Idaho, with the establishment of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in 1975. Additional acres were added as part of the Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984, and the recreation area currently extends across more than 650,000 wild and rugged acres. Nine hundred miles of trails wind through the wilderness area, closed to all mechanized travel. If you want to visit the wilderness it must be on foot, mountain bike, or horseback. Three of its rivers, the Snake, Imnaha, and Rapid have all been designated as Wild and Scenic. Environmental groups have proposed the creation of Hells Canyon National Park to better manage the area's critical habitat. A wildlife-viewing guide is available from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 115 Tejaka Ln., off Hwy. 82, Enterprise, OR, 97828. 541/426–4978 or 541/426–5546. www.fs.fed.us/hellscanyon.
Wild and Scenic Snake River Corridor. Sixty-seven miles of river are federally designated as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system. Extending ¼ mi back from the high-water mark on each shore, the corridor is available for managed public use. Since the corridor itself is not designated as "wilderness," and wilderness area regulations do not therefore apply, there are developed campsites and man-made structures, and some motorized equipment is allowed. In season, both powerboaters and rafters must make reservations and obtain permits for access to the river corridor. OR. 509/758–0616 general information; 509/758–1957 noncommercial float reservations; 509/758–0270 powerboat reservations. Daily Memorial Day–early Sept.
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