A Vision for the Stevens Peak Backcountry

Where It Begins

The Stevens Peak Backcountry comprises the subalpine area in the vicinity of Stevens Peak, located on the Lolo and Idaho Panhandle National Forests, in the vicinity of the Idaho-Montana state line.  The Stevens Peak Backountry:

  • Offers prime terrain and snow conditions for backcountry snowboarding and skiing.
  • Has historically been used primarily for quiet human-powered winter recreation.
  • Is accessible during the winter from trailheads that can be reached by passenger vehicle, something uncommon for the public lands in our region.
  • Is experiencing increasing patterns of snowmobile use primarily for high-marking.
  • Is being threatened by the proposed expansion of the Lookout Pass Ski Area.

Proposed Stevens Peak Backcountry Winter Non-Motorized Area

The Proposed Stevens Peak Backcountry Winter Non-Motorized area (shown below) is an area of approximately 6,500 acres in the vicinity of Stevens Peak. It includes portions of the Copper, Saint Regis, East Willow (Stevens Lakes), West Willow, Boulder and Gold Creek drainages.  The concept was originally proposed to the Forest Service in 2000 by members of the Spokane Mountaineers.

Fig 1 IPNF Plan Revision Comments 4-16-12

The Inland Northwest Backcountry Alliance

The Inland Northwest Backcountry Alliance (formerly Stevens Peak Backcountry Coalition) is a grassroots organization of backcountry skiers and snowboarders, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and climbers who value quiet human-powered winter recreation in the Inland Northwest.  Our goals:

  • Work toward the creation of a comprehensive and workable Winter Recreation Plan for the Stevens Peak Backcountry and other areas in our region.
  • Educate others about the value of and opportunities for quiet human-powered winter recreation.

We seek to strengthen the traditional winter recreation community by identifying and connecting the growing number of non-motorized winter recreation enthusiast users in our region — eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana, an area that includes the cities of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Missoula, Moscow and Pullman. #Speak4ThePeak

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Speak 4 the Peak Creative Challenge

S4P-123-2Are you ready to ‪#‎Speak4ThePeak?

What’s “the peak”?

The mission of the Inland Northwest Backcountry Alliance is to preserve and protect areas in the Inland Northwest where traditional, human-powered winter recreation can be enjoyed. “The Peak” is anywhere in our area where you go to glide through untracked snow, ascend a mountain top, or simply take in the quiet beauty of the winter landscape. We know that you treasure these areas as much as we do. That’s why we want to hear you talk about your experiences and #Speak4ThePeak!

Now really, there must be an actual peak in mind?

Well, yes there is. The Inland Northwest Backcountry Alliance was formed to create some form of protection for the Stevens Peak backcountry, near Lookout Pass on the ID/MT border. This area has been one of the premier areas for backcountry skiing/boarding, snowshoeing, winter camping, and spring climbing. As a result, it is of particular interest in Speak4ThePeak. To learn more about vision Here .

While we know many of us use the Stevens Peak backcountry area on a regular basis, we also know that there are many other special places in our area. So, we will leave the choice of the “peak” up to you.

Why Speak4ThePeak?

It is a fun and creative way to support human-powered winter recreation, and is a welcome alternative to attending meetings, reading EIS documents, and submitting comment letters.  We really just need your help in telling the story of the human-powered winter recreation activities we all enjoy.

You can also win some cool prizes! We will award prizes for our three favorite entries. Prizes include:


 Two more great prizes will be announced during the contest.  So, stay tuned!

Great! How can I Speak4ThePeak?

It is pretty simple

  1. Go backcountry skiing or boarding, snowshowing, XC skiing, or any other human-powered winter activity you enjoy.
  2. Shoot some photos, create a video, paint a picture, or write some words that capture the essence of your human-powered winter outing.
  3. Post the story to our Facebook page and the hashtag #Speak4ThePeak. Then share it on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+… you name it! Just be sure to include the hashtag #Speak4ThePeak!

For anyone who may be #hashtag challenged, you can email your entry to speak4thpeak@ibackcountry.org  and we will hashtag for you.

The deadline for all submissions will be April 15th, 2015.  The winning entries will be announced in May of 2015.  Enter as often as you like.  Now get out there and #Speak4ThePeak!!

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Stevens Peak is the Location of the Spokane Mountaineers’ Mountain School Annual Snow Climbing Practice Weekend

Stevens Lake and Stevens Peak have been the location of the Spokane Mountaineers’ Mountain School’s Snow Climbing Practice for more than 30 years.  The 2012 Mountain School Snow Practice was held the weekend of April 14-15 and is documented in a great video Here.

Roped team travel, self arrest and avalanche awareness are taught by volunteer instructors.  The Spokane Mountaineers Climbing Schools is possibly one of the best and most comprehensive climbing courses in the US.

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Unprecedented Highmarking in Lone Lake Basin Leaves Backcountry Skiers Wondering When the Forest Service Will Take Action

Yesterday, three inbound snowmobilers passed us as we were climbing up the north end of West Willow Ridge at about 5,000 ft.  They passed us again on their way out at about 6,400 as we were nearing the shoulder of Stevens Peak near the head of West Willow basin.  The photo above (click 2x to zoom in) shows what we saw when we reached the vantage point on the ridge above the basin and what three snowmobilers can do in a short time.  The precedent is being set.

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Takin’ Care of Business with WWA’s Forrest McCarthy

The Stevens Peak Backcountry is featured in this VIDEO creation made by Forrest McCarthy.  The video also features footage taken during Forrest’s recent trip to several northwest backcountry and Nordic skiing locations where the Winter Wildlands Alliance is working with other grassroots groups to enhance opportunities for and preserve areas for human-powered winter recreation on public land.

During the Stevens Peak Backcountry tour, Forrest joined five members of the Spokane Mountaineers and Stevens Peak Backcountry Coalition along with Adam Switalski, Greg Peters and Ted of the Montana Backcountry Alliance.  All experienced great conditions, skiing in the backcountry with three feet of new powder.

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