US National Forests Of Idaho

Payette National Forest in Idaho.
Payette National Forest in Idaho.

The state of Idaho occupies the northwestern part of the United States to the east of Montana State and west of Oregon State. The Idaho state has reserved 11 national forests under the control of the US Forest Service. The forests provide recreational activities for people and habitats for a great diversity of wildlife.

11. Boise

Boise is a forest which has a large area of about 8,919 square kilometers. The Shoshone ethnic group formerly inhabited the region before the settlement of the Europeans in the forest. Silver and gold mining continued until the 20th century when the US Forest Service reserved the area as the national forest with the aim of maintaining wildlife and water in the forest. The forest experience low temperatures of -10 to -3 degrees Celsius in the winter and 27 to 31 degrees Celsius in the summer. The onshore winds from the Pacific Ocean bring rainfall to the forest. The common species of trees in the forest are Douglas fir and ponderosa pine.

10. Payette

The national forest dominates in the central western part of Idaho State with the approximate area of 9,290 square kilometers. Payette is within the counties of Adams, Washington, and Valley. The forest borders Hells Canyon, Nez Perce forest, and Salmon-Challis forest. The combination of the Weiser and Idaho reserves formed the present Payette forest in 1908. Payette forest is home to more than 290 mammal species and eight tree species of conifer.

9. Salmon-Challis

Salmon-Challis is one of the largest among the US national forests with an area of about 17,140 square kilometers. The forest dominates the east-central region of the state of Idaho in the United States. The highest section of Challis forest occupies the Custer County whereas some parts extend to Butte, Clark, and Lemhi counties. The highest section of Salmon forest dominates the Lemhi County and smaller sections in the Idaho and Valley counties.

8. Nez Perce

Nez Perce occupies the west-central region of Idaho State primarily with an area of about 9,000 square kilometers. The boundaries of the national forest are Montana, Clearwater forest, and Wallowa-Whitman forest. Nez Perce also shares the border with Payette forest in the southern section of the forest. The forested mountains of the region provide habitat for raccoons, black bear, elk, and moose. These are the typical species of animals inhabiting the forest. The areas of wilderness within the forest are Gospel Hump, Hells Canyon, Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church.

7. Clearwater

Clearwater national forest occupies an area of nearly 7,200 square kilometers in the north section of the Idaho state. The forest also shares a boundary with the State of Montana, Idaho, Panhandle forest and Nez Perce national forest. The mountains within the forest provide habitat for the different species of animals. Some of the species of animals in the forest are elk, marten, mule deer, and black bear.

6. Idaho Panhandle

The national forest occupies the border of Idaho, Montana and Washington States. The total area of the forest is roughly 13,000 square kilometers, but some parts extend to the northern part of the Idaho state, United States. St. Joe, Coeur d’Alene, and Kaniksu forests were merged to form the present day Idaho Panhandle forest. The forest is home to animals like grizzly bears, black bears moose, timber wolves, wolverines, and raccoons. Some of the species of birds in the forest are the wild turkey, California quail, and blue jays. The official wilderness areas within the forest are Salmon-Priest and Cabinet Mountains.

5. Sawtooth

The sawtooth forest has an area of about 8,540 square kilometers under the management of US Forest Service in the state of Idaho.Some parts of the area have grassland and sagebrush kinds of vegetation, but in some areas, which support trees, Lodgepole pine with undergrowths like dwarf huckleberry and grouse whortleberry common in the forest. The big trees include subalpine fir, limber pine, and white-bark pine. Most of the trees in the forest are indigenous, but people from outside the forest have introduced the exotic trees. About 240 species of birds, 75 mammal species, and 30 fish species are found in the forest.

4. Caribou-Targhee

This national forest occupies the Idaho and Wyoming states primarily with some sections extending to Utah. The approximate area of the forest is 10,500 square kilometers within the boundaries of Grand Teton, Bridger-Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The forest provides the habitat for various species of flora and fauna. Some of the animals’ species are bison, wolf, moose, elk, cougar and black bear. The lodgepole pine, spruce, and fir are some of the trees species though some parts are covered with grasses and sagebrush. The official designated areas for wilderness are Winegar Hole and Jedediah Wilderness.

3. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache

The more extensive parts of the forest dominate the northern part of Utah with smaller sections of the forest extending to the southeastern region of the Idaho State. The forest extends to about 666,500 square kilometers. The section of Cache Forest borders the Bear Lake, Franklin, Caribou and Rich Box counties. The Wasatch forest, on the other hand, lies between Tooele, Davis, Wasatch, Utah, and Morgan counties.

2. Bitterroot

The forest dominates in the eastern region of Idaho State and the central section of the state of Montana with an area of about 6,420 square kilometers. The larger section of the forest lies in Ravalli County, Montana, but some parts extend to Idaho County, Idaho. The popular wild animals are the mule deer, mountain goat, elk, and rabbits. The areas of wilderness within the forest are the Anaconda-Pintler, Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church.

1. Kootenai

Kootenai occupies the area within the northern part of Idaho and northwestern region in Montana. The approximate area of the forest is 8,890 square kilometers, but less than 3% of the forest extends to the state of Idaho. The US Forest Reserve is in control of the Kootenai forest with the headquarters in Libby, Montana. There are numerous rivers in the forest, for instance, Clark Fork Rivers and the area experience the Pacific Maritime type of climate.


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