A 16 year old named Hannah Anderson was abducted by a family friend last week in a series of events that left both her mother and brother dead. Her saga began in Southern California and ended far away, in the wilderness of Idaho, when she was rescued by FBI agents over the weekend. Anderson’s abductor, James Lee DiMaggio, had fled to one of the most remote areas in the United States, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The protected area is a beautiful place, but few people know much about it. In an effort to give you a clearer picture of this northern area that is relished by outdoors enthusiasts, here are some facts about the Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness.
- It’s the second largest protected wilderness in the contiguous United States.
- It’s the largest area without any roads in the contiguous United States.
- The wilderness stretches across six different national forests.
- The wilderness was renamed after Senator Frank Church after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer because of his efforts to protect the environment while in Congress. President Reagan signed the act less than four weeks before Church’s death.
- The diverse mix of wildlife found within the area includes wolverines, grey wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, elk and lynx.
- It is the home of the Salmon River, a popular whitewater rafting spot.
- Despite the myriad bodies of water within the area, only 10 inches or so of precipitation fall annually near the rivers while as much as 50 inches accumulate near the mountaintops, usually in the form of snow.
- There are 296 trails throughout the area.
- There are 114 bridges within the area.
- There are 1.5 million acres of trail-free land within the wilderness.