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Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River Canyon - A Top Choice for River Vacations

(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 30, 2009 ) The picturesque mountain village of Stanley, Idaho is located about an hour’s drive north of Sun Valley, in a basin ringed by towering mountains. 80 years ago, political constraints thwarted efforts to make the surrounding country a National Park but that does not detract from its grandeur. The village, with a year-round population said to be about 100, sits at 6,500 feet, nearly 3,000 feet below the Sawtooth Mountains that pierce the sky to the east of town. The Salmon River Mountains encompassed by the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, lie to the north where where the Middle Fork Salmon runs free for 105 miles.

This high mountain wilderness setting greets and awes visitors who come to Central Idaho to float the Middle Fork of the Salmon. It is the most popular wilderness river trip in the United States. Idaho is the Wild Rivers State, and the Middle Fork defines the term. Aside from the dirt road that ends at the Boundary Creek launch site, there are no roads to the Indian campsites, remnant of the mountain tribe, Tukudeka, the Sheepeaters. There are few trails to the homesteads and old mines of a more recent era. The ideal access, the only route to the canyons and gorges of the Middle Fork, is on the river itself.

Outfitters first offered Middle Fork trips to the public in the 1930s but had few pioneering customers. From May through September, only three or four outfitter trips launch each day. The typical trip is 6-days. On other well know rivers, the impact of vacationers is often evident, but here, the U.S. Forest Service and their licensed outfitters have worked together to keep the river pristine and free of crowds. No motors are allowed and reserved forest campsites disperse each party.

Middle Fork guides are famous for their Dutch oven cooking, fly fishing expertise, knowledge of the canyon, boating skills and sharing stories around a campfire, some of which may be true. For many families (the age range is 6 to 86), a trip to Idaho to run the Middle Fork is the vacation of a lifetime.

For information about vacationing on Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon, visit http://www.IdahosMiddleFork.com. The website represents members of the Middle Fork Outfitters Association and has information for vacationers utilizing outfitter services and those who have obtained non-commercial permits for private trips. The site is funded by members of the Middle Fork Outfitters Association and with assistance from a grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Middle Fork Outfitters Association
Jenni Chaffin

Source: EmailWire.com

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