IDFG News Service
BOISE—The Boise National Forest, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Sawtooth National Forest have developed a new Boise-to-Stanley State Highway 21 wildlife viewing guide in partnership with the state’s Watchable Wildlife program.
The brochure includes 18 locations where travelers can stop and learn about wildlife, wildflowers and birds and bugs that inhabit the area from the Boise Front foothills to higher elevation forests in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA).
“The Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway provides the perfect backdrop for this new guide,” said Edna Rey-Vizgirdas, forest botanist and a guide initiator. “It’s exciting because of the diversity of plant communities which provide habitat for hundreds of wildlife species including moose, black bear, elk, mule deer, snowshoe hare, red fox, songbirds and osprey.”
Vizgirdas added families can use the guide to help plan day trips, short hikes or even extended visits to enjoy the natural world on a deeper level.
IDFG has included the guide in their Watchable Wildlife program, said Program Coordinator Deniz Aygen. “This is an opportunity for residents and visitors to take a beautiful drive and potentially see wildlife,” Aygen said. “The guide features sites where people can explore unique wildlife habitats, see beautiful country and enrich their appreciation of nature.”
The guide will be available as at the IDFG and the Boise National Forest web sites.
The Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway
The byway starts in Boise and follows Idaho 21 north to the historic mining town of Idaho City, where you can still pan for gold in a nearby stream bed. Campgrounds and fishing opportunities dot the route from Idaho City to Lowman then along the South Fork of the Payette River as you slowly climb along the byway’s northeasterly route.
At the cutoff road to Grandjean, the roadway leaves the Payette River and squeezes between two of Idaho’s many rugged backcountry regions. On the right, is the SNRA and its 756,000 pristine acres of coniferous forest lands and wilderness lakes. To the left, is the Salmon-Challis National Forest, entryway to the 2.3-million-acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, with more contiguous acres of roadless wilderness than anywhere else in the Lower 48.
From Banner Summit, one of Idaho’s highest at 7,056 feet, you begin a descent into the town of Stanley. As the roadway moves through the steep foothills and thick forest, you can catch glimpses of the Sawtooth Mountains ahead; finally, as you drop into the Stanley Basin, they come into full, magnificent view.
Much like the planned cruise of the S.S. Minnow, it’s a three-hour tour from Boise to Stanley, but there is so much to see you can make a day of it. Sun Valley is about an hour south of Stanley through the Sawtooth Basin and its breathtaking peaks. Twin Falls is about an hour and a half farther south from Ketchum and Challis is about an hour north of Stanley along Highway 75 that parallels the Salmon River.