Wild Place: A History of Priest Lake, Idaho (Paperback)
Remote and rugged, Idaho's Priest Lake remains a wild place, with brutal winters and an upper lake accessible only by foot, mountain bike, or boat. Even so, beginning in the 1890s a wide cast of homesteaders, prospectors, speculators, and loggers tried their best to tame it.
Despite impressive forests, turn-of-the-century Western expansion bypassed the area, sparing its idyllic beauty. In 1897 President Grover Cleveland created the Priest River Forest Reserve, initiating an enduring tension between public and private lands. Soon both timber and summer cottages were in high demand. Rangers doled out permits, scrappy residents eked out a living, and families created a cherished seasonal community.
Devastating wildfires initiated profound change, leading the Civilian Conservation Corps to concentrate on fire suppression. After World War II, population growth accelerated, electricity became commonplace, and a local newspaper crowed, "Priest Lake has become a cult with many vacationists." Wild Place traces the region's history, focusing on little-known yet captivating stories of its colorful characters.