The deepest river gorge in North America is located in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. The park contains more than 215,000 acres of wilderness and is considered one of Oregon’s most scenic and remote areas. Visitors can explore the canyon by boat, car, or hike. For more information, visit the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area information center. Here you can find maps and directions to the park. Visiting Hells Canyon is a must for any Oregon traveler.
The Hells Canyon Geology web site features geologic resources and links to related federal and state web sites. You can also find information about college geology departments, outfitters, and names of geologists who would be happy to lead a field trip. These geologists will give you their opinions about the geology of the area, as well as potential environmental hazards. These resources can help you make the right decision when planning your visit to Hells Canyon.
After the Civil War, the town of Copperfield became a center of vice for both locals and visitors. In the early ’80s, white stockmen and miners began moving into Hells Canyon. Homestead was on the south portal, while Copperfield was on the north. The city was soon a thriving red-light district. Eventually, the town of Hells Canyon was incorporated into the city of Portland, and was later named after the famous copper miner.
In 2005, the Hells Canyon Preservation Council formed a nonprofit organization called the Hells Canyon Conservation Foundation. The group began drafting a bill to protect the canyon. The bill was unsuccessful in getting a committee hearing, but was revived with the start of the Ninety-second Congress. The Hells Canyon Preservation Council’s President, Pete Henault, wrote the bill and had it introduced in the House. Both the Oregon and Idaho state senators endorsed the bill.
Despite this, the government decided to build three dams in the area downstream of Hells Canyon, the first of which was the Oxbow Dam. The dam was constructed in 1957, but in the meantime, fish passage was not possible. The fish passage facilities were not effective. By 1962, the Washington Department of Fisheries and Environment stated that the barrier net was ineffective and that “fish runs in Hells Canyon were badly being harmed” by the dam.
In response, Idaho Power and the U.S. Fishery Commission (FERC) conducted a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Hells Canyon Complex. During these public hearings, Idaho Power proposed actions that would restore the habitat for steelhead, salmon, and bull trout. The DEIS concluded that dams had destroyed salmon and steelhead habitat and that the restoration efforts would have to address the problem. However, in the end, none of these mitigation options worked.