The Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area is a primitive area straddling the divide between the North Fork Clearwater River and the Little North Fork Clearwater River basins about sixty miles northeast of Orofino in north central Idaho. The 30,000 acre area is the centerpiece of a larger 260,000 acre roadless area that has been under consideration for wilderness designation since the 1960s. Much of the area is managed as wilderness despite lacking the formal designation and offers many interesting and unique features. The area is used for recreation and hunting along the jagged ridges and 38 subalpine lakes; 21 of which are within the designated Pioneer Area. Biological diversity is very high due to abrupt elevation gains that range from low elevation disjunct coastal rainforest communities to the subalpine. Impressive pockets of old growth western red cedar, grand fir and western white pine, some quite massive, remain in the lower elevations. The Heritage Cedar Grove has trees up to 12 feet in diameter and over 150 feet tall that are several hundred years old. Some likely exceed 1,000 years!
Our service project is providing basic trail maintenance of the Smith Ridge trail that provides access to the Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area. We'll mostly be cutting back overgrown vegetation on trails that provide access to the greater Mallard-Larkins area. We'll set up a tent and car camp for the week at the Smith Ridge Trailhead and make daily forays up the trail towards the Mallard Larkins area seven miles away, clearing brush and overgrowth as we go. From camp, which sits in a small pass, we'll enjoy panoramic views of the Clearwater and Idaho Panhandle National Forests. This project was recommended by our partners at The Wilderness Society in Idaho.
Some description and photos from summitpost.org