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Nez Perce County Comprehensive Plan


Special Areas


A region's character and identity are largely identified with the history and culture of the area. The "special sites" component highlights areas, sites and structures of historic, archeological, architectural, ecological, wildlife and scenic significance important to the culture of the county.

Nez Perce County has a rich historical heritage centered on Nez Perce culture, Lewis and Clark exploration, mining pioneer settlement and the role of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers . Nez Perce County's many cultural resources including archaeological and historic sites, and scenic corridors are closely tied to the natural resources of the area. The county is fortunate that the University of Idaho, and Lewis-Clark State College serve many cultural needs.


One of the unmistakable qualities of Nez Perce County is the scenic beauty. Drive into Lewiston from the north, east or west and the features sure to command one's attention are the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. The sprawling wheat farms of the Nez Perce Prairie to the south and Palouse to the north and the rich agricultural lands in between are memorable by any measure.

The Nez Perce National Historic Park. The park is comprised of 38 different historic sites spread out over 400 miles in Montana and Idaho. The park headquarters, at Spalding, details the 10,000-year history of the Nez Perce Indians. This park site describes the White Bird Battle, which marked the beginning of the tragic Nez Perce War of 1877.

Clearwater Canyons Scenic Byway. The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial which officially begins in 2003 is the impetus for the recent US95 "byway" corridor designation from Lewiston to Grangeville. The corridor is rich in heritage linked to the Northwest Passage exploration.

Clearwater Landing. The visitor center, which is opposite the Port of Lewiston along the Clearwater River, tells of early and present navigation along the river.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Located along the Lewiston Levee Parkway, the center is located at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. The Lewis and Clark Expedition, which passed down the Clearwater toward the Pacific in 1805 was the first party of voyagers to record their passage here.

Spiral Highway (Old Lewiston Grade). One of the best sights in the Lewiston area is the view from the top of the 2,000 foot-high Lewiston Hill. The Spiral Highway, which branches off from U.S. 95 is now more of a scenic attraction than a busy travel route. The eight-miles of twisting curves and steep drop-offs still has the best views of the country below. Motorists in a hurry use the US95 highway.


Increased tourism, economic development and interest in history and "roots" will be the impetus for development of new cultural sites and experiences. It is imperative that the new development of and near sensitive sites and structures is handled carefully and consistently. The county is a major player in the stewardship of the many rich cultural and historical sites for future generations.


Goal Statement:

Nez Perce County recognizes the many benefits of cultural and historical resources and seeks to protect the resources that represent important elements of the county's history.


  1. Nez Perce County should develop an inventory of significant historical and cultural sites that could serve as a reference tool in the review of development plans.
  2. Nez Perce County should establish a site evaluation process with agencies and the Nez Perce Tribe to comprehensively and efficiently review development proposals for cultural and historical impacts.
  3. Nez Perce County should support efforts by local, regional, tribal, state and federal agencies for the preservation, enhancement and maintenance of historical, cultural, ecological, scenic, and wildlife habitat sites.
  4. Nez Perce County should actively seek federal, state, or local funds to purchase sites and resources for public access or protection.
  5. Nez Perce County, in association with the County Historical Preservation Commission, should promote awareness of the county's cultures and history.

Special Areas Strategy Chart


Planning & Building
Office Location
Brammer Building
1225 Idaho Street
Lewiston, ID 83501

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 896
Lewiston, ID 83501



Alison Tompkins

E-mail Alison

Building Official

Kile Allen

E-mail Kile

Senior Customer Service Specialist

Cody Lorentz

E-mail Cody

Planning & Zoning

Commission Chairman

Frank Dillon

Vice Chairman

Shawn Wentworth


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