New quarter minted for Frank Church Wilderness


Q: When does a quarter cost 47 cents?
A: When it’s the latest edition of a special mint.

The United States Mint last week officially launched the America the Beautiful Quarters Program coin honoring Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. It is the fifth and final quarter of 2019, and the 50th coin overall in the program. Quarters are available for purchase at $18.95 in rolls of 40.

During the ceremony, Mint Director David J. Ryder expressed his sentiments about the new quarter, saying it “serves as a reminder of the essence of the Wilderness—more than two million acres of prehistoric mountains, fertile conifers and commanding rivers but flourishing with stories of heritage and wonder.”

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness encompasses more than 2.3 million acres. It is the largest single contiguous wilderness in the conterminous States and encompasses four national forests.

The name of the wilderness has two roots. “The River of No Return” component derives from when boats could navigate down the Main Salmon River but not back upstream because of fast water and numerous rapids. “Frank Church” was attached to the site’s name in honor of late U.S. Senator Frank Church, who played a leading role in its preservation.

The wilderness is dominated by three dramatic mountain ranges–the Salmon River Mountains, Clearwater Mountains, and Bighorn Crags, which surround 14 strikingly beautiful clear water lakes.

The Salmon River Canyon is one of the deepest gorges in North America, deeper even than the Grand Canyon. It is known for the variety of landscapes visible from the river: wooded ridges rising to the sky, huge eroded monuments and bluffs, picturesque castles and towers, and solitary crags. Within this canyon, salmon participate in the largest inland migration in the continental United States.

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The reverse (tails) design depicts a piloted drift boat on the rushing river encompassed by the trees and rock formations of the wilderness.

The Mint released collectible rolls and bags containing Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness quarters on November 4. These products are available for purchase through the Mint’s online catalog or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).

The America the Beautiful Quarters® Program is a 12-year initiative that honors 56 national parks and other national sites. Each year until 2020, the public will see five new national sites depicted on the reverses (tails sides) of the America the Beautiful Quarters coins, with a final coin scheduled for release in 2021. The Mint is issuing these quarters in the order in which the national sites were officially established.

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