The Joseph Plains Wildlife Habitat Area photo

The Joseph Plains Wildlife Habitat Area (JPWHA), above the Salmon River near White Bird.

Located near the Idaho-Oregon border, high above the Salmon River and near the small town of White Bird, lies a 1,300-acre property donated to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation known as the Joseph Plains Wildlife Habitat Area. It is a ways off the beaten path, yet this slice of western Idaho elk country is now much more accessible due to recent access site improvements.

“We appreciate our partners at the Idaho Fish and Game and Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation for working with us,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “As snow in high country melts, hunters and others will now find it much easier to access this scenic landscape that’s teaming with wildlife.”

Fish and Game, IFWF and RMEF provided funding for the recent access work including fencing, gravel and installation of improved signage and kiosks leading to the property’s main entry point.

“It’s kind of a hidden gem—both secluded and gorgeous,” said Brandi Felts, Fish and Game’s Clearwater regional habitat biologist. “You definitely need hiking boots and strong legs to take full advantage of it, but I challenge anyone to come here. It reaches into your soul and grabs a hold of you, and instantly becomes a part of you.”

Lying at the head of the Asotin, Howard and Gregory Creek drainages, which flow into the Salmon River, wildlife habitat area features steep canyons, sharp ridges and forestland that provide prime habitat for elk, deer, black bears, mountain lions and other wildlife.

The Elk Foundation holds a conservation easement that forever protects the property’s wildlife values. Fish and Wildlife Foundation oversees management of the area by Fish and Game for both habitat and access with the agency’s help, but if it ever seeks to dispose of the property, ownership automatically reverts to the Elk Foundation to ensure it stays intact and open to the public. Since the parcel is not officially state land, it appears as private land on ownership maps.

Contact the Clearwater region office at (208) 799-5010 for more information on this unique property.

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