Selected Roadless Areas in U.S. National Forests

October 13, 1999

Past inventories have identified more that 40 million acres of "roadless" areas in our national forest, generally in parcels of 5,000 acres or more. Here are several prime examples:

The North Fork American River Roadless Area (Tahoe National Forest, California) -- The area encompasses the canyonlands on both sides of the North Fork of the American River, a designated Wild and Scenic River. The canyon rises from an elevation of 2,100 feet to more than 8,000 feet and contains a wide mix of trees including Sugar pine, ponderosa pine, white fir, black oak, chapparal and even Douglas fir. Old growth is quite common especially in Sailor Meadow. The roadless area also provides habitat for fisher, marten, Sierra Nevada red fox, peregrine falcon and the California spotted owl. This area is extremely popular for primitive forms of back-country recreation.

The Pagoda Peak Roadless Area (Medicine Bow - Routt National Forest, Colorado) -- This area straddles two national forests encompassing 105,000 acres in northwest Colorado. It is the largest roadless area in Colorado and one of the largest pristine ecological areas in the Rocky Mountains. Adjacent to the Flat Tops Wilderness, it has extensive and outstanding aspen stands interspersed with open meadows that provide prime habitat for an abundance of wildlife, including trophy elk and deer.

Little River Roadless Area (The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, Virginia) -- The Little River Roadless area, encompassing 27,248 acres, offers excellent opportunities for primitive, non-motorized recreation in a setting of solitude and serenity. The area also offers spectacular vistas of the Shenandoah Valley from the high ridges and knobs with elevations reaching more than 4,000 feet. The area supports a diversity of Appalachian hardwoods including a variety of oaks and hickories, tulip poplar and mountain ash. The area contains a well-developed trail system and is excellent for backpacking.

South Quinault Ridge Unroaded Area (Olympic National Forest, Washington) -- The South Quinault Ridge Unroaded Area encompasses about 9,852 acres, of steep and rugged country adjacent to the Colonel Bob Wilderness, on the spectacular Olympic Peninsula. It is adjacent to the south shore of popular Lake Quinault. The area provides hikers with access to interpretive trails, and outstanding examples of Olympic rain forest, and contains old-growth conifers and lush understory vegetation. Streams flowing off this area feed directly into Lake Quinault and the Quinalt River, which are sockeye salmon habitat areas.