Taylor Wilderness Research Station
Embedded within the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is a one-of-a-kind venue for scientific discovery combined with the opportunity to explore the social and political impacts of human economics on natural resources. Surrounded by over four million acres of wilderness in central Idaho, the station provides outstanding access, facilities and logistical support for research on natural environments and processes.
The station’s remote location provides an abundance of unique research opportunities for study. Projects undertaken by faculty and students include the following:
- vegetation and rangeland monitoring
- plant identification
- wildlife surveys
- stream ecology and monitoring
- wildfire impact
- cultural and anthropological investigations
- economic impacts in wilderness usage
NOAA / NMFS PIT Recovery
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
A Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) mark recapture and recovery (MRR) site at TWRS is part of a regional database within the Columbia River Basin, referred to as PITAGIS. Annual visits are made to tag juvenile salmon and maintain the tag sensor array within Big Creek.
Idaho Steelhead Monitoring
Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Steelhead Monitoring and Evaluation Studies Project
Wild steelhead trout and Chinook salmon, listed as ‘threatened’ in Idaho under the Endangered Species Act, are monitored by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to assess their performance in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
RiverNET instrumentation gathers fine scale temporal measurements of Big Creek tributaries to acquire detailed measurements for ongoing reach-scale ecological studies; recording stream water temperature, discharge, dissolved oxygen and conductivity near the mouths of Pioneer, Cliff and Rush Creeks.
Taylor Wilderness Research Station has become a collaborator in NASA’s Aerosol Robotics Network (AERONET) as one of 500+ sites around the world used to measure aerosols and their movement in the atmosphere.
United States Forest Service Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS)
Installed in 2008 on TWRS property, the RAWS station records current environmental conditions as well as fuel conditions to determine the fire weather conditions in forecast zone 402.
Blue Bunch Wheat Grass
Sampling plots are being reestablished to continue monitoring changes in Blue Bunch Wheat Grass biomass. BBWG is a major dietary component of Mountain Sheep in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and may be a good indicator of the health of this population.
Avian and Bat Monitoring
Taylor Wilderness Research Station is collaborating with ISU and BSU to install acoustic sensors for long term monitoring of avian and bat species that are using the Big Creek drainage. A potential application of this project is to monitor in and out migration of avian species in a changing climate as well as avian and bat species diversity.
National Weather Service Recording Station
For more than three decades, daily weather measurements have been recorded and include maximum, minimum, and 8AM temperature readings, as well as precipitation accumulation and distribution.
Mountainous Ecosystem Sensor Array (MESA) Project
Atmospheric, hydrological, and biospheric conditions are measured across an elevation gradient. Sensors record carbon dioxide, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, barometric pressure, soil water and temperature, tree radial growth, and leaf wetness.
Taylor Wilderness Research Station is located in Valley County, Idaho, in the center of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. It spans 65 acres on both sides of Big Creek, the largest tributary of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, which is eight miles downstream. It can be accessed by air (approximately 70 air miles north east from Cascade, Idaho), or on foot starting at the Big Creek trailhead, approximately 35 miles downstream.
Taylor is located at approximately 45.1019°N and 114.8517°W. Our elevation at the head of the airstrip is 3835’.
Taylor's airstrip is privately owned. Permission to land must be obtained from the station managers prior to arrival.
Elevation: 3850 feet, situated on Big Creek, 34 miles downstream from the closest road at the community of Big Creek, and 7 miles upstream from the confluence with the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.