Lower Salmon River
Boating Guide - Vinegar Creek to Heller Bar
Boating Guide for Vinegar Creek to Heller Bar on the Lower Salmon River in Idaho. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
|Idaho Pocket Maps|
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT COTTONWOOD FIELD OFFICE IDAHO THE LOWER SALMON RIVER BOATING GUIDE, VINEGAR CREEK TO HELLER BAR Cover illustration, Adam Ridley BLM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT COTTONWOOD FIELD OFFICE IDAHO THE LOWER SALMON RIVER BOATING GUIDE, VINEGAR CREEK TO HELLER BAR Bureau of Land Management Cottonwood Field Office 2 Butte Drive Cottonwood, Idaho 83522 208-962-3245 The Lower Salmon River The Nez Perce Indians have occupied this area for millennia. They call this river “Tamaánma”, which translates to “something laying near the side of the river.” Early explorers dubbed it the “River of No Return” due to the difficulties they experienced trying to transport wooden boats upstream through roaring rapids. Whatever it is called, the dynamic Salmon River and the land it nourishes are very special. The 425-mile waterway is the longest completely free flowing river in the lower 48 states and one of the few in the nation that contains no dams. The river begins as not much more than a trickle at an elevation of about 8,000 feet in the Sawtooth and Whitecloud Mountains of central Idaho. It gathers force as it makes its way northeast and then west, fed by snows from the Sawtooth and Salmon River Mountains in the south and the Clearwater and Bitterroot Mountains in the north. About 150 miles further on its westward course, the Salmon River has created the second deepest canyon in North America, which effectively splits Idaho in half. The section known as the Lower Salmon River begins at Vinegar Creek, 26 miles upstream from the town of Riggins. At Riggins, the river swings north and then west for 86 miles where it meets the Snake River in Hells Canyon. The Snake River continues to flow into the Columbia River and eventually into the Pacific Ocean. The drainage area of the Salmon River, which lies entirely within Idaho’s borders, encompasses approximately 13,550 square miles. The river and its canyon are truly remarkable. The numerous – and unusual – white sand beaches are a reminder that this river is still free flowing. Respect the river, listen to it, learn from it, cooperate with it, and care for it. Bureau of Land Management TABLE OF CONTENTS INFORMATION .............1 REQUIREMENTS AND LAWS .............4 SAFETY .............7 RIVER ETIQUETTE .............8 AFTER YOUR TRIP .............9 CONSERVATION EASEMENTS .............10 SNOWHOLE WILDERNESS STUDY AREA .............11 WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS .............11 MAP INDEX .............12 MAP LEGEND .............13 MAP EXAMPLE .............14 RIVER MAPS .............15-75 HUMAN HISTORY .............36 GEOLOGY .............61 WILDLIFE .............76 PLANT LIFE .............80 7 12 Clarkston Lewiston C L E A R WAT E R 129 NEZ PERCE Asotin Sn e R iv ak ! · 11 7 L 62E W I S er 12 Rd . 62 64 WA S H I N G T O N 162 Heller Bar Cottonwood Sa lm on R iv 13 er Grangeville 95 Pine Bar 14 IDAHO Hammer Creek White Bird Whitebird Gravel Pit Pealy Campbell Flats Slate Creek Twin Bridges Pittsburgh Landing Long Gulch Maynard Hole OREGON Gospel-Hump Lucile Old Lucile Wilderness Carey Creek r Lightning Creek e R ive City of Riggins Sn ak Riggins ! · Spring Bar Island Bar ive Salmon R Shorts Bar Hells Canyon Wilderness ! · Boat Launches SCAT Machine Nez Perce Trail Bureau of Land Managment Nez Perce Tribe Private Idaho Dept. of Lands ADAMS Idaho Fish & Game VA L L E Y US Forest Service USFS Wilderness Access Sites 0 2 4 6 8 10 Kilometers 0 2 4 6 8 10 Miles New Meadows 55 Vinegar Creek r Information How to Use This Boater’s Guide This guide includes maps and information about the Salmon River from Vinegar Creek to the confluence with the Snake River and the Snake River from the Salmon / Snake confluence to Heller Bar below the Snake and Grande Ronde River confluence. This guide is intended to illustrate where beaches are located along with highlighting public and private land. The beaches will change in size, shape, and slope from year to year but the areas where sand is deposited is consistent. The images of the beaches were taken at flows between 3,400-8,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on the Salmon River and at 9,000 cfs on the Snake River. The aerial photographs were taken at flows between 3,310-5,000 cfs on the Salmon River and 11,500 cfs on the Snake River. At higher flows, some beaches will be submerged under water and lower flows may expose more beaches/campsites. The river mile markers on the Salmon River represent the number of miles to the confluence with the Snake River. The river mile markers on the Snake River represent the number of miles to the confluence with the Columbia River. RIVER Sections The Lower Salmon is the last 112 miles of the Salmon River and is a pool-and-drop river, with the more difficult rapids in the narrow canyons and during higher flows. Numerous white sandy beaches on both sides of the river offer camping, as all beaches and shoreline below the average high water mark is public land. The first 34.5 miles from Vinegar Creek to Lucile is an exciting section with several Class II and III rapids and a few Class IV rapids at higher flows. It is often run by commercial outfitters in 1-3 days. The Riggins section, most commonly run from Spring Bar or Shorts Bar to Lucile, is the most popular day stretch and includes many fun Class II and III rapids. The next 25.5 miles from Lucile to Hammer Creek is mostly flatwater with the exception of Blackhawk Rapid, which can be Class III or IV depending on flows and is usually run on river right avoiding the hole on river left. This section flows along Highway 95 with numerous river access points and boat ramps. From Hammer Creek to the Confluence of the Snake is the last 52 miles of the Salmon River and requires a self-issue permit (refer to the Permit section on page 4). This section is pool and drop and has mostly Class II-III rapids with a few Class IV rapids throughout all 52 miles. During the summer months, visitor use is high through this section, please be respectful of other users at the boat ramps and on the river. The 20-mile stretch of the Snake River, from the confluence with the Salmon River to the Heller Bar take-out near the confluence with the Grande Ronde River, contains slower moving water with some rapids and is often characterized by stiff up-canyon winds as well as fluctuating water levels due to dam releases. Jet boat traffic is typically busier on this section, especially on the weekends. Trip Duration Depending on what section you float and the flow of the river, trips can range from a half day to seven or eight days or more. There is a total of 132 river miles from Vinegar Creek to Heller Bar with multiple river access sites providing for many trip options. The average duration for a trip from Hammer Creek to Heller Bar is four to six days. Main Seasons of Use Seasons of use depend on the water level and section of river, but generally the floating season begins in June from Vinegar Creek to Hammer Creek and in July from Hammer Creek to Heller Bar. Typically, steelhead season runs September through early spring and salmon season is sometime in the spring. Check Idaho Fish and Game rules and regulations for steelhead and salmon fishing. Power boating season, depending on flows, can occur year round. 1 River Mileages Spring Bar Take Out Shorts Bar Take Out Lucile Take Out Hammer Creek Take Out Pine Bar Take Out Eagle Creek Take Out Confluence Heller Bar Take Out Vinegar Creek Launch Site 15 24 34.5 60 71 100 112 132 Spring Bar Launch Site — 9 19.5 45 56 85 97 117 Shorts Bar Launch Site — — 10.5 35.5 46 76 88 108 Lucile Launch Site — — — 25.5 36.5 65.5 77.5 97.5 Hammer Creek Launch Site — — — — 11 40 52 72 Pine Bar Launch Site — — — — — 29 41 61 Eagle Creek Launch Site — — — — — — 12 32 Confluence — — — — — — — 20 Pittsburg Landing launch on the Snake River is 27 miles upstream from the Salmon/Snake confluence. Difficulty Rating The Lower Salmon River is Class II-IV on the International Scale. The level of difficulty of the rapids vary depending on season and river flows. At higher water levels, the river becomes increasingly more difficult. Please know your ability and boat safely. Slide Rapid is a Class V-VI at flows 20,000 cfs and higher and the BLM does not recommend boating at those flows. This guide book is not a substitute for personal skill or judgement. Whitewater boating can be dangerous and hazardous in nature. All rapid ratings are arbitrary, and can vary greatly with the water level. It is the sole responsibility of each boater to get proper instruction and paddle safely within their ability. The BLM is not responsible for personal injury, death, property damage, or violation of the law associated with your trip. It is imperative that individuals make an informed choice whether to boat a section or not. Therefore, before attempting any river, paddlers should ensure that every person in their group understands the inherent risks of river running, freely assumes responsibility for their own safety, and possesses the necessary skill and prior experience to reasonably ensure a safe trip. You are responsible for your own safety. Whitewater Classifications—International Scale Class I—small waves, passages clear, no serious obstacles. Class II—medium-sized regular waves, passages clear, some maneuvering may be required. Class III—waves numerous, high, and irregular, rocks, eddies, narrow passages, scouting may be necessary. Class IV—powerful, irregular waves, boiling eddies, dangerous rocks, congested passages, precise maneuvering required, and scouting recommended. Class V—exceedingly difficult, violent rapids often following each other without interruption, big drops, and violent current, scouting mandatory but often difficult. Class VI—limit of navigability, generally considered unrunnable. Elevations above sea level Vinegar Creek 1,975’ Riggins 1,821’ Hammer Creek 1,440’ Pittsburg Landing (Snake River) 1,130’ Salmon/Snake Confluence 900’ Heller Bar (Snake River) 840’ 2 Flow Information Flow measurements are taken daily from the White Bird Gauge just above Hammer Creek. For daily flow information go to the USGS website at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv?13317000 or call the BLM at (208) 962-3245. The minimum recorded flow is 1,580 cfs on December 11, 1932 and the maximum recorded flow is 134,000 cfs on June 1, 1894. Water temperature ranges from less than 32 degrees to sometimes over 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Approximate One-Way Shuttle Distance and Drive Times 170 miles—5 hours Vinegar Creek to Heller Bar Vinegar Creek to Pine Bar 96 miles—2.5 hours Vinegar Creek to Hammer Creek 60 miles—2 hours Hammer Creek to Heller Bar 125 miles—3 hours Hammer Creek to Pine Bar 40 miles—1 hour 110 miles—2.5 hours Pine Bar to Heller Bar Pittsburg Landing to Hammer Creek 19 miles—1 hour Private shuttle services are available. Check local listings and online for companies offering this service. Kayaking Play Waves/Holes This guide book has locations and prime flows of some of the most popular kayaking play spots on the Lower Salmon River. Know your ability. Surf and play at your own risk. Gold Hole River Mile 109.9 Map 1 7,000 to 11,000 cfs Couch Wave River Mile 103.0 Map 4 Cat’s Paw River Mile 92.3 Map 8,9 9,500 to 12,000 cfs or 22,000-29,000 cfs when the Little Salmon River is flowing at least 2,000 cfs 3,800 to 5,200 cfs Peace Wave River Mile 91.5 Map 9 3,400 to 6,500 cfs Mill Wave River Mile 86.9 Map 10 3,000 to 4,500 cfs Machine Wave River Mile 85.5 Map 11 6,500 to 10,000 cfs Race Creek River Mile 84.9 Map 11 24,000 to 50,000 cfs Tight Squeeze River Mile 83.8 Map 11 5,000 to 7,500 cfs Chair Creek River Mile 81.7 Map 12 24,000 to 32,000 cfs Rodeo Hole River Mile 79.5 Map 13 10,000 to 19,000 cfs Demon’s Drop River Mile 43.7 Map 24,25 10,000 to 12,000 cfs Lower Bunghole River Mile 28.1 Map 30 4,000 to 7,000 cfs Sundown Surf River Mile 8.0 Map 38 4,000 to 6,500 cfs 3 Requirements and Laws Permits As of 2018, there are no private permits required on the Lower Salmon River from Vinegar Creek to Hammer Creek. However, self-issue permits are required for all private trips below Hammer Creek from July 1st – Labor Day and all overnight trips year-round. You can get a self-issue permit at White Bird Gravel Pit, Hammer Creek, Pine Bar, Graves/Rock Creek, the BLM office in Cottonwood, or online on the Idaho BLM website (https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/recreation-activities/idaho). This permit also authorizes use of the Snake River in Hells Canyon below the mouth of the Salmon River if your trip originated on the Salmon. This self-issue permit will have all of the current rules and regulations required for a river trip through this section. Please note that the requirements on the Snake River may differ from those on the Lower Salmon. Different regulations will be posted at launch sites or will be printed on the self-issue permit. • Special Recreation Permits Special recreation permits are required for all commercial use and organized group activities on the Lower Salmon River and are issued by the BLM Cottonwood Field Office. Contact the BLM Cottonwood Field Office for a complete list of authorized commercial outfitters. • Idaho Invasive Species Sticker A state law requires the owner of any boat and any non-motorized vessel (canoe, kayak, raft, drift boat etc.) to buy and display an Idaho Invasive Species Sticker to legally launch and operate the boat in Idaho. Stickers are available online at http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/. For questions about sticker purchases, contact the Idaho Parks and Recreation registration help line at: 1-800-247-6332. Only inflatable, non-motorized vessels less than 10 feet long are exempt. • Washington State Discover Pass Any vehicles parked at or using the water access site at Heller Bar on the Snake River must have a Washington State Discover Pass. This pass allows for access to recreation lands managed by the State of Washington. The Discover Pass can be purchased at https://discoverpass.wa.gov/. Respect Private Property Although all beaches and shoreline below the average high water mark are public land, there is private property along the river above the high water line. Respect private land and enter it only with permission. Archaeological Sites You will probably see evidence of historic and prehistoric people and communities along the river. Please do not disturb these sites. Federal and State laws strictly forbid vandalism of cultural sites (such as pictographs and structures) or the removal of arrowheads or other cultural artifacts. Fishing and Hunting Idaho fishing and hunting licenses are required. Learn and observe the seasons and regulations. They are strictly enforced by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. More information can be found at their website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/. Firearms Discharging a firearm near or within an occupied area, such as a campsite, is prohibited. Appropriate and safe use of firearms by all members of the party is the direct responsibility of the trip leader. Clean up any used casings and/or targets. Group Size There is no limit on group size from Vinegar Creek to Hammer Creek. There is a maximum group size of 30 people per trip from Hammer Creek to the confluence with the Snake. Below Hammer Creek, groups cannot be combined (camping or floating together) using multiple self-issue permits if the total number of people is greater than 30. 4 Camping Protocol Camp running is prohibited. Camps cannot be occupied before 1:30 pm Pacific Time (2:30 pm Mountain Time) unless the entire group is present. Occupation includes sitting in the eddy or on shore in front of a camp or beach. Firepans are required when camping along the river, A. Hedrick BLM Fires You are required to use firepans for all camp and cooking fires. An approved fire pan is a durable, metal fire pan at least 12-inches x 12-inches wide with a bottom in it, with at least a 1.5 inch lip around its outer edge and sufficient to contain fire and remains. Please elevate fire pans off the ground to prevent scorching. If the fire pan does not have legs to elevate it, place rocks underneath the corners of the pan. All ash and charcoal must be removed and carried out of the river corridor. Gather only driftwood for fires. Scatter any unused firewood away from camp before leaving. All seasonal fire restrictions must be followed in the river corridor. NO FIREWORKS ALLOWED! When floating on the Snake River; firepans are required; use of wood for fuel is prohibited from July 1 through September 15. No firewood may be gathered on the Snake River Dishwater Food bits left in camp are a magnet for biting insects. Bring along a strainer or piece of screen to filter food bits from dishwater. Scatter the strained water directly into the main current of the river or in vegetation 200 ft. above high water - making sure no food particles are dumped. Do not strain water on the beach or sand. 5 Patrols pack out tires and trash found in the river and on beaches...pack out the trash you bring, Ryan Turner BLM Trash Pack out everything you pack in. Spend a few extra minutes to scout your camp and pick up litter that may have been left behind by others. Remember, cigarette butts, twist ties, and food scraps like peanut shells, orange peels and apple cores are all trash. Pack it in, pack it out! Human Waste Human waste carryout is required. It is mandatory to carry out all solid human waste with an approved portable toilet system. An approved portable toilet system must be reusable, washable, water tight, and Sanitizing Container with Advanced Technology (SCAT) Machine® compatible, or RV dump compatible. Portable toilets with snap on lids (such as ammo cans or plastic buckets) are required to have a rubber gasket in the lid. Plastic bag liners are NOT acceptable nor are WAG BAG®, RESTOP 2® or any other type of plastic bag system. Information about appropriate, inexpensive methods to dispose of human waste is available from the BLM. Please do not put wet wipes, plastic bags, peat pots, cans, diapers, ashes, straw, cat litter or other debris in your toilet if you plan on using the SCAT machine. The SCAT Machine is for use with toilets not utilizing plastic bags or peat pot liners and can clog or get damaged if foreign objects are put through the cycle. Please urinate only on wet sand or directly into the river. Urinating on hot, dry sand or rocks creates an offensive odor and attracts insects. If your group uses a pee bucket, please dump it into the main current of the river. Personal Flotation Devices Federal boating requirements state all recreational vessels must carry one U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III or V wearable personal flotation device for each person on board that is within reach, in good condition and is the correct size and fit. It does not help you if it’s not on you; please wear it while on the water! In the state of Idaho, children 14 and under must wear an approved personal flotation device when they are on board of a boat 19’ in length or less whenever the boat is underway or under power. This applies to manually propelled watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and rafts in addition to powerboats, sailboats, jet skis and fishing float tubes. 6 Safety Recommended Equipment • • • • • • First aid kit; know what is in it and how to use it. Boat repair kit; know what is in it and how to use it. Carry at least one extra oar or paddle and personal floatation device per boat. Throw bags and pin or wrap kits. Consider packing a satellite phone or a GPS communication device. Sand stake to anchor your boat at beaches. River Safety • • • • • • • • Wear your life jacket. Remember that personal flotation devices only work when you have them on. Plan for all kinds of weather; even hot, sunny days can turn cool and rainy, creating hypothermia conditions. When in doubt, scout. When in trouble, be active. Get yourself out of trouble first, then help others. Worry about your gear only after all people are safe. Most accidents happen on shore and in camp. Be cautious getting in and out of boats. Wet rocks can be slippery. Watch your step. Rattlesnakes, bees, cactus, and poison ivy are all plentiful in the Lower Salmon River corridor. Learn how to avoid them and how to treat the symptoms of an encounter. Couch Wave at River Mile 103, courtesy Mike Hicks Drinking Water Although water quality is high, river water is not considered potable without treatment or filtering due to the possible presence of Giardia. Bring your own drinking water or plan to filter or boil stream and river water. There are several recreation sites with potable drinking water but nothing downstream from Pine Bar. Forest Fires During the summer, forest fires are a common occurrence along the Salmon River corridor. Please check local fire information for any fire restrictions prior to your trip. Have a plan Tell someone where you are going and when you will be returning. 7 In Case of Emergency Note your location in an emergency and call 911 or the local sheriff ’s office: Idaho County Sheriff (208) 983-1100 Lewis County Sheriff (208) 937-2447 (208) 799-3131 Nez Perce County Sheriff BLM (208) 962-3245, Monday-Friday, 7:45 am - 4:30 pm Pacific Time The BLM carries a satellite phone for emergency purposes on river patrols. River Etiquette Although you may find solitude on the Lower Salmon River, you will not be alone. Your actions will directly affect the experience of others on the river and the river itself. River users come to the Lower Salmon for many reasons, but none of them come expecting to find difficult situations with others. Following a few simple guidelines will help ensure that the journey down the river is a positive experience for everyone on the water. Camping Please camp at a beach appropriate to your group size. Small groups should leave large camps for bigger groups. “Camp running” is not allowed, as it creates the stress of hurrying - exactly what most boaters go to the river to avoid. There are usually plenty of camp spots. Set your own leisurely pace, select a camp that fits your group size, and relax. On rare occasions, you may be asked to share a camp with a late arrival. Be courteous, make new friends, and continue to enjoy your trip! Breaking Camp Before departing your camp, naturalize the beach by scattering unburned driftwood piles and rocks that were used as tent stakes, sand anchors or tie downs. Destroy your sand castles and structures, and knock down your rock cairns. Do a final beach sweep before leaving camp to make sure you haven’t left any micro trash or belongings. Leave your beach clean and natural for the next group. Dogs If you bring a dog along, keep it under control at all times, use a collar with identifying tags and pack out all dog feces. All dogs must be on a leash at developed recreation sites such as boat ramps and campgrounds. Out of respect for other visitors and private property owners, keep dogs contained when near private property and popular attraction sites (rapid scouts, historical sites). Technology and Noise To some, technology is a necessity even in remote, wild settings. To others, it is inappropriate. Avoid conflicts by making a conscious effort to allow everyone his or her own experience. As much as possible, keep the noise down. Sound travels easily in the river corridors, so be aware of your group’s noise level, especially as you pass other’s camps. Use headphones to listen to music or listen to the sounds of nature. River Encounters Communication and common sense are the keys to successful interaction with other river users. Your trip will be much safer and more enjoyable if you give other boaters lots of space, especially in rapids. Powerboats have always been allowed on these rivers. Although they can be infrequent on the Lower Salmon River, they are very common on the Snake River. • Downstream drift traffic has the right-of-way. However, once a jet boat is committed to powering upstream through a rapid it cannot stop and should be given the right-of-way. • Float boats should yield the deeper channel to powerboats when possible and move toward the side to give them room to operate safely. • Powerboats should be aware of and minimize their wake when passing another craft. The river is large enough to accommodate both float boats and powerboats. Common sense, safety and courtesy will help avoid confrontational behavior which will ensure peaceful coexistence for all users. 8 Hammer Creek boat ramp, Ryan Turner BLM BOAT Ramp ETIQUETTE Because river trips start and end on the boat ramp, your experience there can set the tone for the entire voyage and color your memories of the adventure long after it ends. If the ramp is busy, be patient and wait your turn. When it comes, use the ramp only for loading and unloading your vehicle and trailer. Rig and de-rig your boat off of the ramp. Allow others to go before you if all they have to do is put a loaded boat in the water and take off. Be friendly, helpful, and considerate and enjoy this part of your trip. After Your Trip Human Waste Disposal Dispose stored human waste appropriately at the following locations: • Asotin, Washington—Chief Looking Glass Park on 1st Street (SCAT Machine© and RV dump station) • South Riggins, Idaho—Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Office (Forest Service) at 1339 Highway 95 (SCAT Machine© only) • White Bird, Idaho—Hammer Creek Recreation Site at river mile 52 (RV dump station only) Trash Disposal Recycle or properly dispose of all the trash from your trip. Lost gear If you lose or leave any gear on the river, contact the BLM. We maintain a sizable inventory of “lost and found” items! BLM Cottonwood Field Office: 208-962-3245 Let Us Know How It Went If you encountered any problems on your trip, or have suggestions about how BLM can enhance river recreation experiences, we would like to hear from you. Bureau of Land Management Cottonwood Field Office 2 Butte Drive, Cottonwood, Idaho 83522 (208) 962-3245 9 The Wreckreationist This sculpture is located at the launch site at Hammer Creek and was constructed in 2004. It is built from the trash collected from the Salmon River and its banks. Hopefully, it creates an awareness to the impacts people have on the river environment. Look for a fisherman, a catarafter, a jet boater, and a hunter surrounding a tree, a sun, and birds. Thanks to the young men and women from Homedale High School, Center Point High School, and Fort Boise MidHigh School who created this sculpture in welding class. This project made possible through the leadership of Evan Worthington and a grant from the Wittenburger Foundation and the Idaho Commission of the Arts. BLM river patrol has removed over 8000 tires from the river. Approximately 1 ton of trash is removed every year. PLEASE…remember to pack out all of your trash and trash left by others. The Wreckreationist, Evan Worthington BLM Conservation Easements The Lower Salmon River recreation and conservation project has been part of a priority management effort for Congress and the BLM since 1991. Through multiple acquisitions of land and interest in land, the BLM has been able to preserve the river in its unique beauty and character for future generations. These fee ownership and conservation easement acquisitions achieve goals and objectives identified in the Cottonwood Resource Management Plan, including preservation of the canyon’s exquisite beauty and protection of the many special species that inhabit the waters and lands of the second deepest canyon in the county. The primary effort of the BLM, in cooperation with volunteer and willing landowners, has been to preserve the canyon through conservation easement acquisitions on private lands. The primary benefit of this effort is to promote working ranches as part of an important economic driver within the region while working with those ranchers to preserve the canyon as an open space with spectacular views. Private lands with current and future scenic conservation easements will always have the same views you see today; clear waters pouring in from their tributaries; preserved fish, big game, and upland game bird habitat; and limited home and road development. Those same conservation easements contain provisions for the continued production of beef; promotion of healthy working forests; and providing ranching, forestry, and recreation jobs to local communities. Past and future conservation acquisitions are completed without the use of taxpayer dollars. Funding for the acquisitions is from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program, which as a special fund appropriated by Congress each year. The primary source of money for the LWCF is generated from royalties of offshore oil and gas leases where Congress may appropriate up to $900 million annually to the fund. Four Federal agencies and local communities from every State are eligible to receive LWCF monies for various conservation and recreation projects. Since 1995, the BLM has received a total of $13,398,460 for the acquisition of 15,801 acres in fee simple ownership and 9,781 acres of conservation easement interest on the Lower Salmon River and areas of the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area along the Salmon and Snake Rivers. 10 Snowhole Wilderness Study Area The unique natural values of the 5,332 acre Snowhole Wilderness Study Area (WSA) are protected through the continuing implementation of the Lower Salmon River Recreation Management Plan and the Lower Salmon River Cultural Resource Management Plan. The WSA is withdrawn from all forms of appropriation under the mining laws by formal withdrawal enacted in 1986, meaning, there will be no impacts from mineral exploration or development under the recommendation that the entire WSA would be open to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. Currently there is no land-based OHV use and it is unlikely to occur in the near future simply due to the rugged topographic features of the Salmon River Canyon within the WSA. Livestock use is currently authorized at historical levels. The recreational values of this WSA are outstanding. The Lower Salmon River, 20 miles of which pass through this WSA, provides nationally recognized whitewater rafting opportunities. Based upon the percentage of the WSA area to the total river corridor, recreation use within the WSA is currently estimated at 8500 annual user days. Recreation activities associated with river running include fishing, camping, hiking, hunting and sightseeing. The recommendation will protect and enhance the recreational values of this WSA and accommodate increased use. Wild AND SCENIC RIVERS The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 designated 237 miles of the Salmon River, from the mouth of the North Fork of the Salmon to the confluence of the Salmon and Snake Rivers, to be studied for potential inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Salmon River Wild and Scenic Rivers study was completed in 1973 and the recommendation to Congress included the entire 237 miles in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The study recommended that the segment from North Fork to Corn Creek be designated as Recreational; the segment from Corn Creek to Long Tom Bar as Wild; the segment from Long Tom Bar to Hammer Creek as Recreational; and the segment from Hammer Creek to the Snake River as Scenic. Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) include fishery and wildlife; archeology and historical;