In this vast wilderness are several main communities. In the lower elevations the red fir, Abies magnifica, forest is the dominant community. Higher, a lodgepole pine, Pinus murrayana, forest is common, intergrading into the subalpine forest with mountain hemlock, Tsuga mertensiana, and whitebark pine, Pinus albicaulis. The area includes both dense forests and barren granite slopes.
At least five rare plants occur within the wilderness, Carex mariposana, Draba asterophora var. asterophora, Draba asterophora var. macrocarpa, Tonestus eximius and Navarretia prolifera ssp. lutea.
Animal life is abundant and includes species typical of the transition, subalpine and alpine zones. The rare and secretive wolverine, Gulo luscus luteus, probably occurs here.
Most of the area is underlain by Mesozoic granitic rocks, much of which is exposed. In the southern portions, particularly, are various other Mesozoic rocks, primarily Jurassic metavolcanics and metasedimentaries. Evidence of the Pleistocene glaciations is abundant and includes cirques, aretes, erratics, glacial polish, valley shaping, and roches moutonnés. There are several dozen lakes in the wilderness, some stocked.
Integrity: Several lakes have been dammed and there are numerous trails. Portions of the area receive heavy use and may become impacted.
Use: Research, educational, observational, present.
Inventory of California Natural Areas
Revision © 2008 Steven Louis Hartman