The United States Congress designated the Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness (map
) in 2011 and it now has a total of 11,001 acres
All of this wilderness is located in California
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness contains rugged Coast Range ridges covered with thick forests of redwood, Douglas-fir, and tan-oak. There are two major forest types encompassing the area; the mixed evergreen forest and the redwood forest. Late-successional and old-growth stands of Douglas-fir are scattered throughout the area. Chaparral communities are found mainly on south-facing slopes and ridgetops. A seven-mile-long segment of the South Fork Eel Wild and Scenic River flows through and bisects the wilderness area.
Notable wildlife species include the federally-threatened northern spotted owl and other old-growth forest related species, the federally-endangered bald eagle and peregrine falcon. Anadromous fish species such as Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead utilize the South Fork Eel River and its tributaries as rearing and spawning grounds.
Although this area was created under the 2006 Northern California Coastals Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, the Act required that the area be designated as wilderness once conditions on these acres were restored and were compatible with the Wilderness Act, or no later than five years after the Act’s passage. After this five-year interrim period, the BLM determined no additional restoration was necessary, as the area had naturally rehabilitated itself during that time.