Carson–Iceberg Wilderness

The Carson–Iceberg Wilderness is a federal wilderness area located 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Stockton, California. It encompasses 160,000 acres (650 km2)[1] and was designated by the California Wilderness Act of 1984. It protects an area of High Sierra landscape with elevations from 4,800 feet (1,500 m) to 11,462 feet (3,494 m) along the Sierra Mountains from Ebbetts Pass to Sonora Pass in the south.[2] The US Forest Service manages the wilderness which is in both the Stanislaus National Forest and the Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest.

Located in the wilderness are the headwaters of the Carson River draining the east side of the crest, as well as the North and Middle Forks of the Stanislaus River on the west slopes.

The name Carson–Iceberg comes from two prominent geographical features: the Carson River (named for noted scout and explorer Kit Carson) and the distinctive granite formation called "The Iceberg" on the southern boundary near Clark Fork Road.

Historical highlights: Jedediah Smith crossed the Sierra Nevada Range near Ebbetts Pass sometime in 1827, and the first immigrant party of Bartleson–Bidwell crossed over in 1841 near Sonora Pass.

The wilderness supports large herds of mule deer and there is also good habitat for black bear, which have become a problem due to an insatiable appetite for backpackers' food.[3] The forest cover consists of lodgepole pine, Jeffrey pine, aspen, Sierra juniper and curl-leaf mountain mahogany.

Carson–Iceberg Wilderness
Map showing the location of Carson–Iceberg Wilderness
Map showing the location of Carson–Iceberg Wilderness
Map showing the location of Carson–Iceberg Wilderness
Map showing the location of Carson–Iceberg Wilderness
LocationAlpine County / Tuolumne County, Sierra Nevada Mountain range, California
Nearest cityMarkleeville, California
Coordinates38°27′02″N 119°44′57″W / 38.45056°N 119.74917°WCoordinates: 38°27′02″N 119°44′57″W / 38.45056°N 119.74917°W
Area160,000 acres (650 km2)
Governing bodyU.S. Forest Service / USDA

Paiute cutthroat trout

Bull Run Lake, Carson-Iceberg Wilderness
Bull Run Lake, Carson–Iceberg Wilderness.

The Carson–Iceberg Wilderness supports a native population of the only Paiute cutthroat trout in existence in the drainages of Silver King Creek, a tributary of the East Fork Carson River. They were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 and upgraded to threatened status in 1973 with the passage of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) which allowed regulated fishing of the Paiute. Historically, the US Fish and Wildlife Service believe the Paiute trout only occupied the Silver King Creek and its tributaries below the barrier of LLewellyn Falls, and around 1912 were introduced to other streams where the Paiute hybridized with the Lahonton and rainbow trout species.[4]:p11

The "revised recovery plan"[4] by the US Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to remove nonnative fish from the environment, protect habitat for the current populations of Paiute trout, both within the historical range of the Silver King Creek watershed and the other streams in the region, such as North Fork Cottonwood Creek, and lastly, to study the Paiute trout to better understand the population trends.[4]:p13

The main distinguishing characteristic is the lack of spots on the body. The closely related Lahontan cutthroat trout has between 50 and 100 spots whereas the Paiute may have up to nine, but rarely more than five.[4]:p6

The Paiute trout require a habitat of clean, well-oxygenated, moving water with gravel bottoms and quiet pools near riparian zones. They reach maturity in 2 years, spawn during June and July with eggs hatching in 6–8 weeks and the fry emerging from the gravel in 2–3 weeks. The rate of growth depends on water temperature and food access, with the Silver King Creek Paiute having been measured at 13.5 inches. Predators include the water shrew and the dipper, a bird that can go underwater to feed. Humans impact the Paiute trout as the fish show a lack of wariness to anglers, possibly because of the high elevation environment and lack of predators. Serious population declines have occurred from moderate to light fishing of the trout.[4]:p22

Also in the Silver King Creek watershed are the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, mountain yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad.[4]:pp17–19


A permit is required from May to October for overnight visits into the wilderness but can be used to visit more than one wilderness area in a single trip. There is a limit of 15 people and 25 stock in the wilderness. Leave No Trace methods of wilderness travel are highly encouraged by the US Forest Service.


  1. ^ Text of Act (appendix p. 1)
  2. ^ Akinson, p.142
  3. ^ Akinson, p.146
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Revised Recovery Plan for the Paiute cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki seleniris)" (PDF). Portland, Oregon: US Fish and Wildlife Service. 2004. Retrieved 2019-03-03.


  • Adkinson, Ron Wild Northern California. The Globe Pequot Press, 2001
  • USGS

External links

California Wilderness Act of 1984

The California Wilderness Act of 1984 is a federal law (Public Law 98-425), passed by the United States Congress on September 28, 1984, that authorized the addition of over 3 million acres (12,000 km2) within the state of California to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Carson Ranger District

Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is 368,600 acres (149,200 ha) in size. Roughly half of the district is in western Nevada, and half in eastern California.

Carson River

The Carson River is a northwestern Nevada river that empties into the Carson Sink, an endorheic basin. The main stem of the river is 131 miles (211 km) long although addition of the East Fork makes the total length 205 miles (330 km), traversing five counties: Alpine County in California and Douglas, Storey, Lyon, and Churchill Counties in Nevada, as well as the Consolidated Municipality of Carson City, Nevada. The river is named for Kit Carson, who guided John C. Frémont's expedition westward up the Carson Valley and across Carson Pass in winter, 1844.

Dardanelles Cone

Dardanelles Cone is a mountain peak in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness on the Stanislaus National Forest. It lies near Sonora Pass in the Sierra Nevada of California. It is between State Route 4 and State Route 108.

East Fork Carson River

The East Fork Carson River is the largest tributary of the Carson River, flowing through California and Nevada in the western United States. The north-flowing river is 61 miles (98 km) long and drains a mostly rural, mountainous watershed of 392 square miles (1,020 km2).The river originates at Sonora Peak, in the Sierra Nevada in Alpine County, California. The headwaters of the river are in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It flows north through a U-shaped glacial canyon, dropping over Carson Falls, then continues to the Silver King Valley, where it meets Silver King Creek and turns northwest, flowing to Centerville Flat where it is joined by Silver Creek and turns north. Between here and Markleeville, California the river canyon is followed by parts of SR 4 and SR 89, the Alpine State Highway. At Markleeville it receives a major tributary, Markleeville Creek, before flowing north into Douglas County, Nevada. In Nevada the river enters the agricultural Carson Valley and passes through the Washoe Indian Reservation, past Dresslerville, Gardnerville and Minden. It joins with the West Fork Carson River on the western edge of the valley, near Genoa to form the Carson River. Below this confluence the Carson River continues 131 miles (211 km) to its eventual terminus in the Carson Sink in Churchill County, Nevada.The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) proposed their intention in 1962 to build a dam to provide irrigation water for a Carson canal which was never built and 800 kW of power for $23 million. The waters from the dam would have extended nine miles into California. The dam was never built.

Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest

The Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest (HTNF) is the principal U.S. National Forest in the U.S. state of Nevada, and has a smaller portion in Eastern California. With an area of 6,289,821 acres (25,454.00 km2), it is the largest National Forest of the United States outside Alaska.

List of U.S. National Forests

The United States has 154 protected areas known as National Forests covering 188,336,179 acres (762,169 km2/294,275 sq. mi). The National Forests are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first National Forest was established as the Yellowstone Park Timber and Land Reserve on March 30, 1891, then in the Department of the Interior. In 1897, the Organic Act provided purposes for which forest reserves could be established, including to protect the forest, secure water supplies, and supply timber. With the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, the President of the United States was given the power to set aside forest reserves in the public domain. With the Transfer Act of 1905, forest reserves became part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the newly created U.S. Forest Service.By 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt more than doubled the forest reserve acreage, and Congress responded by limiting the President's ability to proclaim new reserves. The National Forest System underwent a major reorganization in 1908, and in 1911 Congress authorized new additions to the system under the authority of the Weeks Act. The management goals provided by the Organic Act were expanded upon by the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 to include "outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes" as well as for the establishment of wilderness areas.As of September 30, 2014, the Forest Service manages a total 192,922,127 acres (780,728.15 km2), 188,336,179 acres (762,169.48 km2) of which are National Forests. The additional land areas include 20 National Grasslands, 59 purchase units, 19 research and experimental areas, five land utilization projects and 37 other areas. The National Forest System has an extensive and complicated history of reorganization, so while there are currently 154 named National Forests, many of these are managed together as either a single forest or separate forests.There is at least one National Forest in all but ten states:

Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island (although Kansas and North Dakota have national grasslands). In addition, Puerto Rico contains El Yunque National Forest. Alaska has the most national forest land with 21.9 million acres (8.9 million ha), followed by California (20.8 million acres, 8.4 million ha) and Idaho (20.4 million acres, 8.3 million ha). Idaho also has the greatest percent of its land in national forests with 38.2%, followed by Oregon with 24.7% and Colorado with 20.9%. On maps, national forests in the west generally show the true extent of their area, but those in the east often only show purchase districts, within which usually only a minority of the land is owned by the Forest Service.

List of largest wilderness areas in the United States

This is a list of the largest wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System of the United States. It includes all that are larger than 50,000 acres (200 km²). Statistics are as retrieved in September 2009 from Where instances of multiple states or agencies occur, they are listed in descending order of included acreage. The last column lists the entities that the wilderness is entirely (in most cases) part of, or partially included in (minority of cases, usually involving parts of the wilderness that are in otherwise unnamed BLM lands). They are also listed in descending order of included acreage. Agency abbreviations: BLM = Bureau of Land Management; FS = Forest Service; FWS = Fish and Wildlife Service; NPS = National Park Service.

North Fork Stanislaus River

The North Fork Stanislaus River is a 31.2-mile (50.2 km) tributary of the Stanislaus River in the central Sierra Nevada and Stanislaus National Forest of eastern California.

Silver King

Silver King may refer to:

Silver King (baseball), Charles Koenig, a professional baseball player from the 19th century

Silver King (bicycles), Monark-Silver King, Inc., Chicago, 1934-1957, a U.S. manufacturer of classic bicycles, (or reference to their shiny bicycle products)

Silver King (wrestler) (born 1968), Mexican wrestler

FV Silver King, a Canadian fishing vessel which sunk in 1967

A silver king, another name for the species of fish better known as the Atlantic Tarpon

Silver King, the nickname for Tom Norman, the owner of the freak show that exhibited Joseph Merrick, known as the "Elephant Man"

Silver King, the name for the broadcast television arm of the Home Shopping Network, which later became USA Broadcasting

Silver King, the term used to often describe the individuals, dressed in cowboy outfits who deliver meat on skewers at churrascaria restaurants, often known in North America as "Ten Different Meats"

Silver King Creek, a tributary of the Carson River in Carson-Iceberg Wilderness where Paiute cutthroat trout are endemic.

Sonora Pass

Sonora Pass (el. 9,624 ft. / 2,933 m.) is the second-highest highway pass in the Sierra Nevada, lower by 321 ft. (about 98 m.) than Tioga Pass to the south. State Route 108 traverses the pass.

Stanislaus National Forest

Stanislaus National Forest is a United States national forest which manages 898,099 acres (1,403.3 sq mi; 3,634.5 km2) of land in four counties in the Sierra Nevada in Northern California. It was established on February 22, 1897, making it one of the oldest national forests. It was named after the Stanislaus River.

Stanislaus River

The Stanislaus River is a tributary of the San Joaquin River in north-central California in the United States. The main stem of the river is 96 miles (154 km) long, and measured to its furthest headwaters it is about 150 miles (240 km) long. Originating as three forks in the high Sierra Nevada, the river flows generally southwest through the agricultural San Joaquin Valley to join the San Joaquin south of Manteca, draining parts of five California counties. The Stanislaus is known for its swift rapids and scenic canyons in the upper reaches, and is heavily used for irrigation, hydroelectricity and domestic water supply.

Originally inhabited by the Miwok group of Native Americans, the Stanislaus River was explored in the early 1800s by the Spanish, who conscripted indigenous people to work in the colonial mission and presidio systems. The river is named for Estanislao, who led a native uprising in Mexican-controlled California in 1828, but was ultimately defeated on the Stanislaus River (then known as the Río de los Laquisimes). During the California Gold Rush, the Stanislaus River was the destination of tens of thousands of gold seekers; many of them reached California via Sonora Pass, at the headwaters of the Middle Fork. Many miners and their families eventually settled along the lower Stanislaus River. The farms and ranches they established are now part of the richest agricultural region in the United States.Early mining companies were formed to channel Stanislaus River water to the gold diggings via elaborate canal and flume systems, which directly preceded the irrigation districts formed by farmers who sought a greater degree of river control. Starting in the early 1900s, many dams were built to store and divert water; these were often paired with hydro-power systems, whose revenues covered the high cost of the water projects. In the 1970s the construction of the federal New Melones Dam incited major opposition from recreation and environmental groups (documented on the Stanislaus River Archive), who protested the loss of one of the last free-flowing stretches of the Stanislaus. Although New Melones was eventually built, its completion is considered to have marked the end of large dam building in the United States.Water rights along the Stanislaus River are a controversial topic, with the senior rights of farmers coming into conflict with federal and state laws protecting endangered salmon and steelhead trout. The Stanislaus irrigation districts contend that diverting water for fish damages the local economy, especially in years of drought. Water managers have struggled to find a balance between competing needs, which also include groundwater recharge, flood control, and river-based recreation such as fishing and whitewater rafting.


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