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Chuck Johnson, Fairbanks, AK; Betty Ells, Clarkston, WA; Steve McGill; Harriet Reece, Cavendish and Lewiston; and Joe Pippenger are the winners!

The Lolo Motorway is the answer for Week 323 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: Work started in 1930

Tuesday: It was finished in 1934.

Wedesday: A Forest Service project

Thursday: Has always been somewhat primitive

Friday: The forest it was started on ceased to exist a month after it was completed.

Saturday: It can be covered with snow into July some years.

Tuesday: Supported by Northern Regional Forester Maj. Evan Kelly

Wednesday: Provides access to some historical areas

Thursday: Lewis and Clark are a part of the history in the area.

Friday: Was an important area and route to the Nez Perce long before Lewis and Clark came west

Saturday: Has a special name because motor vehicles can traverse it

The Lolo Motorway was started in 1930 primarily in what was the Selway National Forest which ceased to exist the month that the roadway was completed in 1934. It is a steep, narrow, winding road that was built at low cost that runs from Musselshell Meadows on the west to a spot on U.S Highway 12 near the Powell Ranger Station.

It was started with regular construction funds and finished with "emergency" funds from the Roosevelt Administration's Civilian Conservation Corps and National Industrial Recovery Administration. The main driving force behind the project was Major Evan Kelly the powerful Regional Forester from Missoula, according to the book, In Nez Perce Country: Accounts of the Bitterroots and the Clearwater after Lewis and Clark complied and edited by Lynn and Dennis Baird.

Following the experiences of the devastating wildland fires of 1910, the Forest Service was looking for a way to make sure that was never repeated. The policy developed that all fires were to be out by 10 a.m. the next morning. With that in mind, they built "truck trails" in the back country. Though Kelly realized that these roads would also provide some recreational and logging access, his primary focus was fire control, according to the publication.

Planning for the truck trail did not address the historical value of trails along the same ridge top. The construction was opposed by Assistant Regional Forester Eler Koch. However, his protests were in-house and rather quiet. He did lost two rather large battles the road over the southern portion (Nez Perce Trail) and the Lolo Motorway. He did several others preventing roads into the Great Burn and heart of the Selway.

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140