Boulder-White Clouds Council

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Boulder-White Clouds Council
Post Office Box 6313
Ketchum, Idaho 83340

2003 All rights reserved.


The White Cloud and Boulder Mountains have 14 peaks over two miles high, and 62 peaks are over 10,000 feet high.






Castle Peak, 11,815 feet, is the White Cloud's highest.

Managing Wilderness

About Wilderness      Wilderness News & Issues

Hikers at Six Lakes basinWilderness is one of the six multiple uses of National Forest Lands. The National Forest Management Act of 1976 lists Wilderness as one of the six multiple uses for which National Forest lands are to be managed. Furthermore, four of the five other multiple uses (recreation, range, fish and wildlife, watershed) occur in Wilderness. Only one - timber harvest - cannot occur in Wilderness.

Wilderness is multiple use management in fact. These current uses of the Boulder-White Clouds will all continue when it is designated Wilderness: hunting and fishing, horsepacking and hiking; scientific and archaeological investigation; commercial outfitting; access to private inholdings; treaty-guaranteed hunting and gathering; mining on valid claims; livestock grazing; and all non-mechanized forms of recreation. The following can also occur in Wilderness: fire suppression; insect and disease suppression; fish and wildlife habitat improvements (prescribed burns, stream barrier removal, stocking lakes, etc.); trail and bridge construction; established aircraft use; and maintenance of weather communications, or other such facilities. If needed, motorized equipment can be used for these activities.

Wilderness does NOT allow road building (with rare exceptions for mining or fire suppression), mechanized recreation, timber harvest, or new mining claims. There is little merchantable timber in the Boulder-White Clouds. Only 25,000 acres of the total wild area is within the Sawtooth and Challis timber base. There are no present or planned timber sales within the boundaries the proposed Boulder-White Cloud Wilderness although future sales could be proposed.

About half the Boulder-White Cloud proposed Wilderness area lies within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) , administered by the Sawtooth National Forest. The SNRA has issued regulations and suggestions to help reduce impacts from thousands of yearly visitors to the Boulder-White Clouds. Here is a summary of the SNRA's regulations and some additional comments of our own.

By following these regulations, you can help provide yourself and future generations with the benefits of an enduring primitive resource.
Enjoy and keep it a wild place!

CAMPING: Camp at least 100 feet from trails, lakes and streams. This helps reduce erosion and protects fragile vegetation along streams
and lake shores.

LARGE GROUPS: Groups must be limited to 20 persons and 25 head of stock. Keeping groups HALF THIS SIZE is recommended when traveling off trail.
[Note: We recommend keeping group size much smaller, especially on extended trips. One of the attributes of Wilderness is solitude.
Twenty people and 25 horses or mules in one area, diminishes solitude.]

FIRE: Use of backpacking stoves is high recommended. Campfires consume wood, damage vegetation, sterilize soil and scar the land.

BUILD CAMPFIRES only in existing fire rings. Do not burn foil or plastic in your campfire.

CAMPFIRES ARE NOT ALLOWED within 200 yards of the following lakes: Cirque, Cove, Sapphire, Sheep, Slide, Tin Cup, Gunsight, Four Lakes Basin, Scree, Shallow, Castle and Chamberlain 9849. Wood is limited in these high alpine, fragile areas.

REFUSE: Pack out all your trash. This includes food scraps. Help remove evidence of people and keep the area clean.
BURY HUMAN WASTE at least 100 feet from water sources. "Cat holes" should be dug 6-8" deep and covered. This helps reduce the threat of bacterial contamination. Properly dispose of toilet paper. Either carry it out (double zip lock bag), or if you must, bury it in your
cat hole 6-8" deep.

SANITATION: Wash 150 feet away from lakes and streams. Even "biodegradable" soap pollutes. [Do not use soap in lakes or stream.
Fill a pot with water and go away from water sources to a rocky or gravelly area and wash there.]

ETIQUETTE: Stay on the trail, avoid cutting switchbacks which causes erosion. Respect the quiet that wild country offers. Avoid shouting, music and other loud noises that disrupt the solitude and disturb wildlife. Do not disturb natural features. Leave them for others to enjoy.

STOCK: Groups are restricted to 25 head of stock. Stock are not to be tethered within 100 feet of lakes, streams and springs. This helps
keep bacteria out of water sources and protect fragile lake and stream shores. All feed must be certified noxious weed seed free.
Do not tie stock to live trees for longer than an hour. Stock ties are provided in some areas - use them!

KEEP MOTORIZED & MECHANIZED BIKES on trails designated by Forest Service travel maps. Respect the solitude and primitive experience that others are seeking. [NOTE: motor bikes and mountain bikes are NOT allowed in designated Wilderness areas.]

EXPECT TO ENCOUNTER CHALLENGES and risks of changing weather, rugged geography and other unexpected situations. BE PREPARED!

*SOURCE: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Ketchum, Idaho. The SNRA welcomes your suggestions and comments. The SNRA's phone is 208/727-5000. Boulder-White Clouds Council also welcomes your suggestions and comments (e-mail them to us) and will post them on this web site.

In years past, we used to speak of wilderness survival as the ability of man to survive the wilderness.
Now we speak of wilderness survival as the land's capability of surviving man. What can we do to protect the Wilderness?
As you pass, will the wilderness remain as it was? Will you make the No-Trace Ethic your personal challenge?
A personal answer to the wilderness challenge.


• Avoid holidays and weekends
• Travel and camp in small family-sized groups
• Carry Horse feed, picket ropes and hobbles
• Repackage food to reduce containers
• Take a litterbag to carry out all refuse
• Carry a stove and foods requiring little cooking
• Buy only gear in subdued forest colors
• Check with Ranger Station for low-use areas
• Walk single file in the center of a trail
• Stay on main trail even when wet or snow covered
• Never short cut switchbacks
• Travel cross country only on rocky or timbered areas
• Look at and photograph, never pick or collect
• Avoid popular areas
• Seek ridgetop or timbered campsites
• Choose well-drained, rocky or sandy campsites
• Never cut standing trees
• Avoid leveling or digging hip holes and trenches
• Make only small campfires in safe areas
• Carry small firewood from timbered areas outside camp
• Make camp 200 feet away from shore areas

• Wash 100 feet away from water sources
• Rotate horses through grazing area
• Avoid even temporary typing of horses to small trees
• Stay as quiet as possible and enjoy the quietness
• Leave radios and tape players at home
• Leave my dog at home [or keep it under control at all times]
• Pick up every trace of litter
• Erase all signs of fire
• Scatter horse manure, fill in pawed holes
• Replace rocks and logs where they were
• Pack out litter, mine and theirs
• Report significant information to the Forest Servce
• Look for signs of my passing. Did I leave any traces?

*U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden Utah. U.S. Government Printing Office 1080-0-679-740. Original document prepared by the Pacific Northwest Region.

An excellent book " Soft Paths", explains how to enjoy the wilderness without harming it. "Soft Paths" is written by Bruce Hampton and David Coles of The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and published by Stackpole Books (1-800-READ NOW).

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Keep the Heart of Idaho Wild