HCNRAHells Canyon National Recreation Area
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Forest Service, including the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA), the Secretary of Agriculture has authority to condition the Idaho Power license to protect reserved federal lands under his jurisdiction.(265) The Secretary's section 4(e) conditioning authority should be informed by section 7 of the HCNRA Act, which directs the Forest Service to manage the HCNRA for the "maintenance and protection of the free-flowing nature of the rivers" and the "protection and maintenance of fish and wildlife habitat" within the recreation area.(266)
Congress originally established the national recreation area in part to prevent the development of a FERC project that would have flooded the remaining free-flowing section of the Snake River in Hells Canyon.(267) Accordingly, section 5 of the HCNRA Act prohibits FERC from licensing any new projects within the recreation area.(268) Congress also expressly provided that the Federal Power Act would continue to apply to existing projects within the recreation area, such as the Hells Canyon Complex.(269) At first glance, Congress appears to have hamstrung the Forest Service with respect to its ability to use its section 4(e) conditioning authority to prescribe flows in the Snake.
(276) Even were a court to find otherwise, these provisions of the HCNRA Act do not rule out all Forest Service regulation of the Hells Canyon Complex.