Welcome to your, the public’s, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area was created by an act of Congress in 1975. Part of this act reads: “to assure that the natural beauty, and historical and archeological values of the Hells Canyon area … are preserved for this and future generations, and that the recreational and ecologic values and public enjoyment of the area are thereby enhanced....”

The HCNRA is managed by the Oregon Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, although it encompasses Nez Perce and Payette National Forest lands in Idaho.

Here are a couple of examples of the neglected landscape the public is intended to enjoy in this 652,488-acre “recreation area:” a vault toilet is closed for public use and visitors to the Kirkwood Historical Ranch are greeted by a locked and brush-covered gate at the entrance.

Do you get a feeling of enjoyment or enhancement?

Shelley Neal

Lucile, Idaho

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