A large part of Blaine County lies in the Sawtooth national forest. This reserve was created by President Roosevelt on May 29, 1905, its original area being 1,947,520 acres. An addition of 1,392,640 acres was made on November 6, 1906. The name “Forest Reserves” was changed to “National Forests” in 1907. Major Frank E. Fenn was the first supervisor, with headquarters at Boise. He was later transferred to northern Idaho and was succeeded by Emil Grandjean. On July 1, 1908, the Sawtooth Forest was divided, and the local unit, retaining the name “Sawtooth,” was placed under the administration of Clarence N. Woods as supervisor, with headquarters at Hailey. In the fall of 1914, Mr. Woods was transferred to Ogden, Utah, and his place was taken by M. S. Benedict. Shortly after war was declared against Germany on April 6, 1917, Mr. Benedict left for training camp, and was succeeded by Herbert G. McPheters, who held the position until Benedict returned as a captain in the spring of 1919. Three other members of the Sawtooth Forest Force saw service in the World war, namely, Guy C. Hendrickson, who was promoted to a first lieutenancy, John Gilman and Albert R. Griffith, all of whom saw service overseas.
The Sawtooth Forest is considered very beneficial to Blaine and Lincoln Counties. Its lofty mountains, its many lakes and streams, its great forage resources, are contributing, in one way or another, to the welfare of the residents of these counties. It is protecting from damage the headwaters of Wood River, without which the valley would be a desert as the white man found it, it furnishes lumber and fuel for local needs, its extensive ranges are the means of feeding many thousands of sheep and lambs during the summer season and of finishing for — market thousands of Idaho’s prime lambs. The government is building a comprehensive road and trail system and making other improvements to open up, conserve, and protect the forest. In the forests of pine and fir are bear, deer and small game. Deer are protected by law. But during the open season, hunters from far and near, duly licensed, with high-powered rifles kill scores of these beautiful, inoffensive, fleet footed creatures. In those beautiful lakes are several varieties of fish, chief of which are salmon and mountain trout. This forms an ideal resort in summer for recreation and amusement. James McDonald, the Hailey millionaire, has a country residence on the beautiful shore of Pettit Lake. The snow capped peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains range all the way from 10,000 to 12,000 feet in altitude. The bracing mountain air and the sublimity of the scene make it seem like an earthly paradise to those who are fortunate enough to take advantage of its attractions.
This region is often referred to as “The Switzerland of America.” Hyndrnan Peak is 12,078 feet above sea level. It forms a part of the boundary line between Blaine and Custer Counties and is about 18 miles in a northeasterly direction in an air line from Hailey, or about 24 miles by the road and trail. The view from its summit is indescribably grand, as the writer knows at first hand. While contemplating the grandeur of this scene the following words of Byron irresistibly came to mind: “Though sluggards deem it but a foolish chase, And marvel men should quit their easy chair, The toilsome way, and long, long league to trace, Oh! there is sweetness in the mountain air, And life, that bloated ease can never hope to share.”
Wood River, from which the valley takes its name, rises in the Sawtooth Mountains and drains a region of about 100 miles in length from north to south, and about 60 miles in width from east to west. Its principal tributaries are the Malad, Little Wood River, Silver Creek, Rock Creek, Deer creek, East Fork, Warm Springs Creek, Prairie creek, and Cherry Creek. Without these streams, the valleys would be nothing but barren wastes. Fish are to be found in all these streams, but Wood River and Silver Creek are especially famed for their trout, and tourists from afar visit this region principally as disciples of Izaak Walton. Grouse and sage hens are plentiful throughout the county.
Source: Based on McLeod, George A. History of Alturas and Blaine Counties, Idaho. The Hailey Times, Publisher. Hailey, Idaho. 1930.