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Dent Bridge (formerly Wells Bench) Rd. is the answer for Week 288 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.
Join in the discovery!
Monday: A special designation
Tuesday: A connection between
Wednesday: A surprise in the middle
Thursday: Different widths and surfaces
Friday: A recent major change
Saturday: Two groups maintain it.
Monday: Change sparked a controversy
Tuesday: Between two cities
Wednesday: 57 miles long
Dent Bridge Rd. (formerly Wells Bench Rd.) provides a connection between Orofino and Elk River with a variety of scenery along the way. If motorists start in Orofino, they make a climb up the hill through farmsteads and ranchettes to the more timbered areas. Along the way are opportunities to follow other paths to Dworshak Reservoir and similar attractions.
Amid the forested slopes is a surprise for anyone who has never followed the route. They will come out of the trees to see Dent Bridge which spans an arm of Dworshak Reservoir. The suspension bridge was built as part of the Dworshak Reservoir construction to provide a way for motorists to go from Orofino to Elk River since other roadways were inundated by the water.
Along the way travelers may also see deer, bobcats, elk, osprey, wild turkeys, bear, cougars, songbirds and other wildlife which call the area home. The route to Elk River is 34 miles long, but with the designation as a Back Country Byway, the route includes the area on the other side of the small town that caters to outdoor recreation making it 57 miles.
Parts of the road are maintained by Clearwater County Road and Bridge Department and part by Clearwater Highway District. Though parts coming out of Orofino are paved, those beyond Dent Bridge are primarily gravel.
In the last few years there has been controversy over the name of the road. As rural re-addressing went forward, the commissioners made a decision to change the name to make it consistent from Orofino to Elk River. That raised the ire of residents because it had been call Wells Bench for nearly a century after John Wells who homesteaded in that area. The commissioners finally decided to call it Dent Bridge Rd.
|Window on the Clearwater|
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Orofino 476 0733
Toll Free 1-866-376-9810
Fax: Toll Free 1-866-376-9810