- Associated Press - Saturday, June 28, 2014

STANLEY, Idaho (AP) - Happy Anniversary, Wilderness!

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by taking a hike in a wilderness area, naturally.

An easy place to start is the Sawtooth Wilderness near Stanley with its more than 300 mirror-like alpine lakes and 50 peaks over 10,000 feet.

You don’t have to be a hard-core backpacker, or own a pack string to explore the Sawtooth Wilderness. It has some easily accessible trails to give newcomers young and old a chance to see the area’s silvery creeks, emerald meadows and snow-capped peaks.

“It’s awesome,” said Mariya Osipchuk of Boise as she hiked along the trail near Stanley Lake Creek.

She was on a June hike with Vincent Stowell. They recently moved to Idaho from Colorado.

The couple took advantage of the trail, which offers quick and easy access to the wilderness area.

There are several other easy-to-reach trails into the wilderness from points like Redfish, Pettit, and Alturas lakes, also near Stanley.

Since we’re taking about anniversaries, let’s look at some of the history of wilderness.

The Sawtooths were first protected in 1937 as a Primitive Area. The 217,088-acre area was officially named a wilderness in 1972.

That couldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the passage of the original Wilderness Act of 1964.

Enough with the stats, let’s experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Sawtooth Wilderness. The peaks and alpine lakes of the wilderness in Central Idaho include the headwaters of the Boise, Payette and Salmon River drainages.

Here are some good choices from the U.S. Forest Service to get a taste of the wilderness:

FISHHOOK CREEK

The trail is easy and considered a good family hike for all ages. It follows along in the Fishhook Creek drainage near Redfish Lake and offers views of Sawtooth peaks and meadows. The trail ends at the wilderness boundary.

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