Expanding Trinity Alps Wilderness

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Expanding Trinity Alps Wilderness

Date: 05/14/2021     State: CA     Issue: Wild Lands     Partners: California Wilderness Coalition, North Coast Environmental Center Airport Origin : Weaverville, CA    


Provide congressional and county leaders an aerial perspective of proposed wilderness and Wild & Scenic designations and highlight why these areas deserve protection.

A current proposal to expand the existing Trinity Alps Wilderness southward includes much of the rugged, heavily forested mid to low-elevation country that would complement the adjacent highlands and protect valuable wildlife habitat and winter range.

These lower elevation additions provide important biological connectivity. The existing and proposed Wild and Scenic River corridors of the New River, North Fork Trinity River, East Fork North Fork Trinity River, and Canyon Creek flow through these proposed wilderness additions. The entire area and its watersheds are a stronghold for at-risk salmonids, providing cold, clear water essential for the survival of summer steelhead trout, coho salmon, and spring chinook salmon populations in the Trinity River watershed. Large boulders and abundant small waterfalls grace many of these streams, and the fish can often be seen leaping up the rapids to spawn.

The proposed additions are an extremely important refuge for unique and endangered species, including nine rare plants. Reminders of the area’s Gold Rush history abound in the proposed additions in the form of abandoned mines, rock piles, and ditches. As is the case in the adjacent Trinity Alps Wilderness, these disturbances are more often than not covered by vegetation, and do not in any way detract from the region’s overall wild character. Indeed, these historical features simply add to the public’s fascination with this wild, remote country.


Segments of the New River, North Fork Trinity River, and Canyon Creek offer challenging whitewater for kayakers who are brave enough to negotiate narrow gorges filled with house-sized boulders and cataracts. Adding these areas to the Trinity Alps Wilderness also protects outstanding scenery enjoyed by tourists driving on Highway 299 and anglers, whitewater boaters, campers, picknickers, and other recreationists along the Trinity River.

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