The River Of No Return
In America, flows a wild 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 each 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
Watched over by bighorn 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, their hope for the future got scary
Until one fateful day all had passed away, save for one fish they dubbed 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 (now deleted from YouTube by its copyright owners Nature @ PBS, but can still be found at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/river-of-no-return-introduction/7618/) gives a more comprehensive picture of the condition of the forest. 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. The third video, a compressed road-trip through a small corner of the Wilderness, by YouTuber Curtis Cook, gives rapid fire views of current forest conditions. When will humanity open its eyes and come to its senses? Please, God, let it be in time…
River Of No Return documentaries:
The following video is a compressed road-trip by YouTuber Curtis Cook and passes through the region pictured in the two images below it. Mr. Cook’s description is as follows:
Published on Jul 6, 2016
High speed playback of the 52 mile trip from just below the Pinyon Peak Lookout Tower to Stanley, Idaho. The trip is mostly on single lane forest roads through the Salmon-Challis National Forest in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area.
Points of Interest: Diamond D Ranch and the Loon Creek Ranger Station, Sunbeam Mine, Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, Bonanza (Ghost town), Sunbeam, and Stanley, Idaho.
Back in the mid 1970’s I worked at the Diamond D Ranch (@ 7:05) and traveled this road well… the forest seen today in no way resembles the healthy forest of that time. The last time I drove that road, about a decade ago, the beetle-kill was already rearing its ugly head, but no one had an inkling of the magnitude of the devastation to come…
So there it is, folks… the largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48, a magnificent cathedral of Nature, that belongs to each and every American, is crashing and burning… literally. Frighteningly, this is NOT AN ISOLATED EVENT… it is happening globally, to forests planet wide. No forests… no biosphere as we know it and, subsequently, no humans. Simple.
The most disturbing element of this is that not only has humanity brought this upon itself with our wantonly destructive treatment of Nature but, rather than do the right thing, by stopping those destructive practices and looking for better ways, the powers that be have chosen to cover it up as long as possible with climate geoengineering such as Solar Radiation Management (SRM) via global toxic aerosol dispersals that are depriving our forests of any hope of recovery. The demise of our forests is virtually guaranteed through the side effects of SRM such as disruption of soil pH, toxic soil and water, off the chart UV exposure (the nano particulate materials used to block the sun destroy our protective stratospheric ozone layer) and, much hotter burning fires resulting from the volatility of the particulate materials in use, which are coating the trees as well as being taken into their branches and leaves via their roots. Subsequently, these hotter fires sterilize the forest floor and retard, or prevent altogether, new growth and regeneration. SRM is devastating already weakened ecosystems, globally, and pushing them beyond the point of No Return. This is worse than shooting ourselves in our collective foot… it is cutting our own jugular vein.
Please visit GeoengineeringWatch.org to learn more about the dire practice of SRM and how it is affecting the health and future of everyone on this planet.
The story of Lonesome Larry:
MEET THE LEGEND
In a race for the very survival of his species, one lone fish prevailed. Fueled by fins and a wild desire, this dashing salmon from the Sawtooths faced a river odyssey. 900 miles. 8 dams. Untold odds. And the journey home. His wild desire could not be dammed… (update 3/11/19, the following linked article, from 2012, is a replacement for the original lonesomelarry.org link that is no longer active) https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/lonesome-larrys-legacy-lives-on-in-salmons-rebound/
The latest on Lonesome Larry… warming water, from the warming climate, is making Larry Lonesome Again: