Big Baldy and Buck Lake
 
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Idaho Primitive: Big Baldy and Buck Lake
 
 
 
Idaho Primitive Area
What is today the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness was the Idaho Primitive Area at the time these photographs were made (1963). Then it was 1,232,744 acres, the largest wilderness in the National Forest System and was to be studied and reclassified under the provisions of the new Wilderness Act. This was the reason we were there.
With the strong support of Senator Frank Church, who risked his career, the River of No Return Wilderness was established by an Act of Congress in 1980. It included the original Idaho Primitive Area and was expanded to include additional adjacent wilderness. Subsequently, other additions were made. In 1984, Senator Church’s name was added shortly before his death. Today the wilderness encompasses 2,366,757 acres—larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined—and is still the largest National Forest wilderness.
The “River of No Return” is the lower part of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The name is not intended to be ominous. More later.