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Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness
IUCN Category Ib (Wilderness Area)
Map of the United States
Location Northern California Coast Range; Tehama / Trinity / Mendocino counties, California, USA
Nearest city Red Bluff, California
Coordinates 40°03′45″N 123°13′19″W / 40.0625°N 123.22194°W / 40.0625; -123.22194Coordinates: 40°03′45″N 123°13′19″W / 40.0625°N 123.22194°W / 40.0625; -123.22194
Area 180,877 acres (731.98 km2)
Established 1964
Governing body U.S. Forest Service / Bureau of Land Management

The Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located 30 miles (48 km) west of Red Bluff in the state of California. Created by the Wilderness Act of 1964, the land area was originally 170,195 acres (68,875 ha). In 1984 the boundary was enlarged, and again in 2006, with the passage of the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act which gave additional acreage to the wilderness for the present total of 180,877 acres (73,198 ha)[1] acres.

Most of it (172,998 acres) is managed by the US Forest Service and is within several national forest boundaries which are: Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers national forests. The balance of 7,879 acres is on Bureau of Land Management land. The name is from the Wintun Native American language and means "snow-covered high peak".

Elevations range from 2,700 feet (820 m) feet to 8,092 feet (2,466 m)[2] at Mount Linn.



In 1927, Chief Forester William Greeley directed the district supervisors to study and recommend areas in the forests suitable for a new classification as "wilderness". By 1929 fourteen areas in the California Region 5 forests were proposed for this designation. The regulations for wilderness areas were called the L-20 and with modifications by Secretary of Agriculture James Jardine, became the management policy for these areas. The L-20 Regulations used the term "primitive areas" with the purpose stated as

"maintain primitive conditions of environment, transportation, habitation, and subsistence with a view to conserving the value of such areas for purposes of public education and recreation."


Of the three new primitive areas located in northern California, the Middle Eel-Yolla Bolla Primitive Area was the largest at 200,000 acres (81,000 ha). The size was reduced to 107,195 acres (43,380 ha) in 1931. By the close of 1932, there were eighteen new primitive areas in California protecting 1,900,000 acres (770,000 ha).[4] Federal protection was given when this area became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, created by the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964.


Located mostly within the North Coast Ranges, the rugged topography of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness protects the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, the North Fork of the Eel, the Mad River and the South Fork of the Trinity River. The eastern side has the drainages of Cottonwood Creek and Buck Creek, which flow into the Sacramento River. The very northern tip of the wilderness -- around the summits of Blackrock Mountain and North Yolla Bolly Peak -- are in the Klamath Mountains. Both the Middle and North forks of the Eel River have Wild and Scenic River designation, as does the South Fork[5] of the Trinity River.

Flora and fauna

The wilderness has Coast Range and Klamath montane, mixed evergreen and Douglas-fir forest types. Conifers include the California endemic foxtail pine, ponderosa pine, red and white firs, western white pine, sugar pine and incense-cedar. Other tree species include oaks, cottonwoods, and the rare Pacific yew. There are wet meadows and open grasslands supporting abundant deer herds (as well as cattle and sheep). Lower elevations have chamise, manzanita, and rhododendron.

Wildlife in the wilderness include bear, deer, fox, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote and martin. The Northern Spotted Owl can be found here, as well as eagles, hawks, turkey vultures and smaller birds like grouse and quail.


Recreational activities include backpacking, day-hiking, camping, fishing and nature photography. There are 15 trailheads all around the wilderness boundary with the most frequent users being hunters in the autumn months. The Ides Cove Loop Trail is over 10 miles (16 km) in length and travels through very scenic areas. The US Forest Service encourages visitors to use Leave No Trace ethics when visiting the wilderness to minimize impact to the environment.

See also


  1. ^ [1] data page on acreage of Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness. accessed 9-5-08
  2. ^ United States Geological Survey Feature Detail Report
  3. ^ Godfrey pp. 215-217
  4. ^ Godfrey, p 219
  5. ^ Land acquisition proposal on the South Fork by the Bureau of Land Management.


  1. Adkinson, Ron Wild Northern California. The Globe Pequot Press, 2001
  2. Godfrey, Anthony The Ever-Changing View-A History of the National Forests in California USDA Forest Service Publishers, 2005 ISBN 1-59351-428-X

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