In a state known for its camping, a 1928 mountain bivouac stands above all others for its significance in Idaho history.
Harry Shellworth might seem an unlikely advocate for the cause of wilderness preservation. But the long effort to conserve Idaho’s wildlands crosses political party and ideological lines. An official with the Boise-Payette Lumber Company (a predecessor of Boise Cascade), Shellworth oversaw Weyerhaeuser logging interests in Idaho. But he also loved to hunt and camp, and he keenly appreciated the need to preserve some of Idaho’s pristine landscape for future generations. In 1928 he invited some important friends on a camping trip into central Idaho—including Governor Clarence Baldridge, Boise attorney Jess Hawley, and Kellogg mining executive Stanley Easton. Shellworth’s mission: To convince these powerful Idahoans that the land around the Middle Fork of the Salmon should be preserved.
In 1930, Baldridge—converted to the cause—appointed Shellworth to head a Governor’s Committee to explore Primitive Area designation for that breathtaking landscape. In 1931, the U.S. Forest Service established the Idaho Primitive Area. At 1.1 million acres, it was one of the earliest and largest Primitive Areas in the nation.
Idaho photographer Ansgar Johnson Sr. accompanied the party as the official photographer of the trip.
BROWSE the album from the Shellworth Manuscript Collection (MS 269) which documents this historic trip.