Southeast Idaho is an incredibly diverse and beautiful part of the state. It’s filled with rivers, lakes, parks, and plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities to keep anyone entertained and active. One of the most diverse river systems in the world flows here. It’s the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, and it’s a world famous fishing river.
Henry’s Fork is steeped in history as rich as the fishing, and it’s a beautiful piece of Idaho that cuts through canyons, grasslands, and majestic waterfalls. It’s a thriving habitat for fish and wildlife, and there’s an organization that’s sole purpose is the protection and preservation of this amazing river ecosystem. That organization is the Henry’s Fork Foundation, and they are the voice of the river.
The Beginning of the Foundation
The founder of the Henry’s Fork Foundation was a man by the name of Bill Manlove. According to the foundation’s history on their website, Bill first visited Henry’s Fork after reading about the area in an outdoors article. This was in the 1960s. Bill loved fly fishing, just as much as he loved the environment.
Bill had a robust career in the military. He was a U.S. Military Academy graduate, and served as a flier in World War II. He was highly decorated, and that led to his career with the Air Force where he designed guidance systems. He even taught at the Air Force Academy. He eventually retired, moved to Idaho, and built his home on the banks of the Henry’s Fork. It was here that he noticed cattle destroying the river.
In 1983, he met with a group of friends, and they decided that something needed to be done in order to preserve the Henry’s Fork. They created the Henry’s Fork Foundation as a nonprofit organization in 1984. Shortly after, they began seeking members. While the foundation is structured differently now, its goals remain the same. They worked to build a group of people with diverse areas of expertise. Everyone worked together toward the same common goal: protect the river and become a credible organization and voice.
In the same year the Henry’s Fork Foundation was incorporated, they won their first battle. Working through media information, they gained the support of the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands, and worked to solve the environmental damage of the cattle. They created a unique fencing system that would provide for cattle grazing, while protecting the river.
The Work of the Foundation
Today, the Henry’s Fork Foundation still works to preserve and protect the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. They work on research projects designed to allow them to make informed decisions in their preservation and restoration efforts. The foundation works with government and academic agencies to protect the trout habitat in the Henry’s Fork. They have completed over one hundred projects that have helped the river.
Protecting the trout in the Henry’s Fork is very important to the foundation. They work with many different organizations, federal and local, as well as irrigators to maintain proper water levels during times that are critical to the survival and spawning of trout. The foundation also maintains fences to keep cattle from disrupting the river.
But the foundation’s efforts don’t stop at research and actively protecting the river and trout. The Henry’s Fork Foundation also has educational and outreach programs designed to teach future generations about the importance of preserving the Henry’s Fork environment. They also introduce young students to the joys of fly fishing, and enjoying the land and rivers in a safe way.
The Voice of the River
The Henry’s Fork Foundation doesn’t exist to keep people from using the river. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The foundation wants to keep the Henry’s Fork usable and sustainable, by ensuring that the trout’s environment remains viable. Idaho is all about getting outside and enjoying the beautiful outdoors that exist everywhere in this state.
Recreation is a very important part of the Idaho lifestyle, and organizations like the Henry’s Fork Foundation strive to protect the beautiful outdoors, while allowing them to be used. They seek to preserve the natural beauty and environment of Idaho, which enables future generations to be able to use and enjoy the bountiful resources of the state. By all means, grab your fishing gear and head to Henry’s Fork to enjoy some of the best fishing in the world. Just know that the Henry’s Fork Foundation has fought to preserve the river, and to keep it protected for you to enjoy for years to come.