September 13, 2016 · by
The River Of No Return
In America there flows a river… called The River Of No Return
A place where I had the great privilege of many life lessons to learn
The incredible beauty of nature, and life’s harsh realities too
The unending importance of balance… understood, it would seem, by too few
The heart of the Frank Church Wilderness, is a river so wild and so free
Preserved for the sake of that freedom, a symbol for you and for me
The famous, unknown, poor and wealthy… can sit on her banks, side by side
Some draw lots just for the privilege, of her wild mountain rapids to ride
Emerging from Earth, a small humble spring, in an alpine meadow serene
Where butterflies float and columbine glow… jewels in a mantle of green
Nature abounds ’round her white granite crown… and welcomes her in with the Spring
Midst the wind in the trees and the buzzing of bees, where elk bugle and the wolves sing
She gathers her strength, as she gurgles along, growing rapidly by leaps and bounds
Joined by streams and by springs, from above and below, increasing her volume and sound
As she tumbles downhill, it doesn’t take long, to reveal the great power she wields
Sculptor of canyons, builder of meadows… moving mountains, replenishing fields
Hallowed halls, are her great granite canyons, overflowing with God’s precious gifts
Filled with His Flora and Fauna, bounded by meadows and forests and cliffs
Where delicate ribbons of water cascade down from the rocks up above
And steaming hot springs, from deep in the earth, offer the warmth of His Love
Such a great and bountiful spirit… this magnificent mountain cascade
Many have sought to tame her, just to prove that they were not afraid
But her heart will belong to no man, tho’ many have heard her call
Her grace and her beauty is boundless, a gift that belongs to us all
From lush grassy banks, to high granite cliffs, to a well hidden fishing hole
Many are those who have cherished her gifts, consuming her food for the soul
Guarded by bighorn, cougars and eagles… from ever a high craggy perch
Some folks called this vastness The Frank… I preferred just to call it The Church
Yes, there was a great river, called the River Of No Return
Her banks hosted blankets of forests… many have already burned
Barren hillsides that now are unable to hold back the cascading rain
Innocent lives on the table… humanity blind to the pain
And the elk and the moose and the mule deer, that call this vast drainage their home?
How will they find a safe haven, with no verdant meadows to roam?
The grizzly, the wolves and the black bears, tread tentatively on hallowed ground
How long will it sustain them, as we watch nature crash all around?
Do you know of the Chinook and Sockeye, that lend this wild river their name?
Numbers so vast “you could cross on their backs” as they migrated back home again
As the Sockeye Salmon were dwindling… there were some got a little bit wary
They discovered one day all had passed away, save for one fish they named Lonesome Larry
It was a brutal 900 mile journey, from the sea to his high mountain home
Three great rivers and eight dams behind him… how sad he arrived all alone
But mankind was ready and waiting to capture this fish and his milt
A valiant effort, yet fleeting… warm water now makes their hopes wilt
This is not just some idle fish story, to tell ’round the campfire at night
It’s the tale of us all, if we don’t heed the call, to step up now and join in the fight
Fight for the fish and the flowers, for the eagles and all that dwell here
Fight for the balance of Nature, for your life, and for all you hold dear
When will we all see the damage… the disruption destroying the land?
When will we come to our senses… and stop drawing our lines in the sand?
When will we get the big picture… understanding our part in the play?
We are all joined as one, all life under the sun… why must we throw it away?
Our lives are all like that great river… The River Of No Return
Spent in pursuit of the passions, that deep within our hearts burn
Each river bend may bring dreadful end… or yet one more lesson to learn
The indisputable fact is there’s no turning back… on The River Of No Return
Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness
The Frank Church-River of No Return is a wilderness of steep, rugged mountains, deep canyons, and wild, whitewater rivers. The Salmon River Mountains, located south of the Main Salmon and west of the Middle Fork, are the most massive range, and dominate the Wilderness. North of the Main Salmon River are the Clearwater Mountains, east of the Middle Fork are the Bighorn Crags. The Salmon River Canyon is one of the deepest gorges in North America, deeper even than the famous Grand Canyon of the Colorado in Arizona. But in contrast to the Grand Canyon, the Salmon River Canyon is not noted for sheer walls and towering heights, but instead for the variety of landscapes visible from the river; wooded ridges rising to the sky, huge eroded monuments and bluffs and slides, picturesque castles and towers, and solitary crags. The United States Congress designated the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in 1980 and it now encompasses a total of 2,366,757 acres. Administration of the wilderness is accomplished by two Forest Service Regions (Northern and Intermountain), and four National Forests, the Salmon Challis, Payette, Nez Perce, and Bitterroot. It is the largest contiguous wilderness in the Lower 48 and the second largest unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System in the Lower 48 (second in size only to California’s Death Valley Wilderness). The lead forest for managing the coordination of the Wilderness is the Salmon-Challis National Forest, with headquarters located in Salmon, Idaho.
I have known and loved this wilderness ecosystem since I was 16 years old… all the way back in 1971. I have traveled the region well, and personally witnessed the changes… many unknown to more recent visitors, or conveniently forgotten by some who have been in these mountains for decades. The depth of my heartbreak, over what I am witnessing here, knows no bounds.
The following are recent videos showcasing the Frank Church Wilderness… please pay attention to the condition of the forest in the background… it is beyond tragic. I could not watch these without weeping… even though the focus is not on the condition of the forest. In the background one can see, all too well, the magnitude of the devastation that is occurring in this massive wilderness. Although the producers of the first video did a good job of not focusing on the destruction, the second video portrays a more honest representation of the condition of the forest and, if you want to get to the heart of the matter, you should watch it first. Both films tend to minimize the impact on the overall ecosystems and the stunning magnitude of the acreage burned here over the past decade… but are well worth watching, if for no other reason than to gain an appreciation of what is being lost. When will humanity open it’s eyes and come to it’s senses? Please, God, let it be in time…
River Of No Return documentaries:
Outdoor Idaho: The Frank
It’s the largest forested wilderness in the lower 48, larger even than some states. Outside of Alaska, only Death Valley Wilderness is larger. So how did the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness become law?
We explore that question with a handful of folks who were there and who helped make it happen.
And we’ll visit some of that 2.3 million acres, a landscape where Nature now rolls the dice.
It’s been 35 years since Congress established the River of No Return Wilderness. We take the pulse of this remote, magical vastness, that many now call, simply, The Frank.
Frank Church | River of No Return Wilderness | Wildlife Documentary
Frank Church | River of No Return Wilderness | Wildlife Documentary.
Welcome to WILDLIFE DOCUMENTARY – home of the best documentary films and documentary movies on wildlife, animals, nature, planet and universe.
The Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area is a protected wilderness area in Idaho. It was created in 1980 by the United States Congress and renamed in 1984 as the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in honor of U.S. Senator Frank Church.
At 2.367 million acres (9,580 km2), it is the largest contiguous federally managed wilderness in the United States outside of Alaska, which is second in area only to the contiguous area of the state-managed Adirondack Park in upstate New York, which contains some 46% of its state-managed area of 9,375 square miles (24,281 km2.) as wilderness parkland. The Death Valley Wilderness is the largest single designated area but consists of numerous disconnected units. The wilderness protects several mountain ranges, extensive wildlife, and a popular whitewater rafting river: the Salmon River.
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