Wilderness Act Profile: Craters of The Moon
Time to Hit The Trails...
We're kicking off summer 2014 with our mission to explore this great land we call home. So, to add to our 50 yr Wilderness Act Profile Series, this month we're going to shed some light on 2 more amazing wilderness sanctuaries we, as America, get to lay claim to. Landscapes where the land's been acknowledged, honored, respected and most importantly SPARED the taint of man in order to preserve its very beauty and sanctity. Still, this is so, for YOURS and MY enjoyment. You just need to know it's there!
To help you to decide where to venture to, the 2 sanctuaries we're taking you to this month are located on opposite sides of the map, so no matter where you reside, in the East or West, we hope to inspire you to add at least one of these amazing wilderness sanctuaries to your summer destination list.
To start, we think a great choice (in the West) for you is, "Craters of the Moon", National Monument & Preserve.
Located in the heart of Idaho, you can explore one of the largest volcanic rift systems in North America. One amazing fact is that despite its rich history, it maintains the magic of an untainted terrain and thus, provides an amazing experience you won't soon forget.
Even though people have interacted with this strange yet beautiful volcanic landscape for several thousand years, according to the archaeological record, and for almost two hundred years, according to the historical record, it remains virtually untouched. It was this remarkable beauty and landscape that caused President Calvin Coolidge to sign a proclamation, establishing the Craters of the Moon as a National Monument on May 2, 1924. According to that proclamation, Craters of the Moon's purpose is "to preserve an area of unusual scientific and educational value and interest."
Rich. Raw. Beauty.
The park embraces some 54,000 acres of lava country and a small portion of the Pioneer Mountains in southern Idaho. Therein lies remarkable fissure eruptions, together with their associated volcanic cones, craters, rifts, lava flows, caves, natural bridges, and other phenomena characteristic of volcanic action; and... well, like in President Calvin Coolidge's words,
"...it has a weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself."
In the clear and rarified air of the high desert, sunlight seems to almost be absorbed by the dark flows and formations, casting all things in shadow. At other times, especially in the morning and evening, light glances off the chaos of twisted, broken, and billowed lava terrain in an array of captivating colors.
There is a 51-site campground among the lava formations beyond the visitor center. Campsites are equipped with a picnic table and grill, with running water and restrooms nearby. There are no hookups, showers, or dump station. Because wood is scarce in this volcanic desert, wood fires are prohibited in the campground. Charcoal for cooking is for sale at the visitor center.
As it is, there's really so much rich history and fun things to do here, we think it would be worthwhile to get a little taste from their website, before visiting. You'll be inspired to appreciate, even more, this vast and unique land, preserved just for you!
*Arco, the county seat, is eighteen miles northeast of the monument, offers a full range of services, and is considered the gateway town to Craters of the Moon.
Stay Tuned! Next, we'll check out Monongahala National Forest in Marlinton, West Virginia.