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Map of IdahoThe Salmon River Country is the heart of what many imagine Idaho to be.

Look at a map of Idaho and you begin to see why the Salmon River country is considered by many to be the spiritual heart of Idaho. Located in the center of a rugged state, the Salmon River watershed includes the longest undammed river in the lower forty-eight, as well as the largest wilderness area in the intermountain West.

The Frank Church River of No Return wilderness area is home to wolves and cougars, elk and deer, wolverines and big horn sheep and mountain goats. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that the 2.4 million acre wilderness supports 240 bird species, 77 different mammals, 23 fish species, 21 kinds of reptiles, and 9 species of amphibian.

It is no easy task to be Idaho's favorite river, given all the choices. But the Salmon River, and particularly its famous tributary The Middle Fork, are Idaho's premier whitewater river trips. In fact, many outfitters consider the Middle Fork to be the river trip by which all other river trips are judged. The entire hundred miles of the Middle Fork is now protected in the Frank Church wilderness.

Over the years, the Salmon River Country has rebuffed attempts by railroad officials to punch train tracks through the heart of it, survived numerous proposals to dam parts of the river. During the Depression of the 1930's, the boys of the Civilian Conservation Corps began building a road through the country, but World War Two put a stop to that. For now, the wilderness status afforded much of the Salmon River Country will keep the “heart of Idaho" wild and free.

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