Final 2019 America the Beautiful Quarter Celebrates Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness

By Office of Corporate Communications
November 6, 2019

In this video, AIP Artist Emily Damstra and Medallic Artist Renata Gordon discuss their work on the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness quarter.

On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, the U.S. Mint released a quarter honoring the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. The quarter is the fifth and final release of 2019 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.

The quarter launch ceremony was attended by 1,500 people, including 1,200 school children. Following the launch ceremony, the East Idaho Federal Credit Union exchanged $14,500 in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness quarters.

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is the largest single connected wilderness in the contiguous United States. The site is named in honor of late U.S. Senator Frank Church, who played a leading role in its preservation. The Wilderness is made up of rugged mountains, deep canyons, and wild whitewater rivers, including the Main Salmon River and Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The site also contains four national forests.

The design of the coin depicts a piloted drift boat on the rushing river, encompassed by trees and rock formations, which is representative of the type of landscape in the wilderness.

“I looked at hundreds of different photographs of the Frank Church Wilderness, and I was inspired by the beautiful landscape,” said AIP Artist Emily Damstra, who designed the quarter reverse. “I also took the advice of the park liaison that the artists work with, who suggested a drift boat as a possible subject matter because drift boats are often used within the park.”

“Every step of the sculpture process, from laying out the underlying structures to finessing the texture at the end, is important because you want a rock to feel like a rock, and you want every form to feel like what it should be,” said U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Renata Gordon, who sculpted the 2019 Frank Church River of No Return quarter reverse design. “This sculpt gave me the opportunity to do that because there were a lot of natural elements and there was a human figure, so it made this sculpt really interesting to execute.”

Additional Resources


cartoon badger holding magnifying glass up to background of lettersExplore terms related to 2019 America the Beautiful quarters, including the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness quarter in the Mint’s online word search game, Word Quest.


Lesson Plans

Looking for ideas or resources related to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and Idaho? Check out our free lesson plans:

  • Call of the Wild: Protecting and Conserving America’s Wilderness (Grades 3-5): Students will explore what wilderness is, why it’s important, understand its scientific and cultural value, and brainstorm ways to protect and conserve it for future generations.
  • My Happy Habitat (Grades K-1): Students will explore animals and the characteristics of their habitats, focusing on the peregrine falcon, the state raptor of Idaho.
  • Poetry to My Ears (Grades 2-3): Students will understand what syllables are and how to count syllables in words and phrases. Students will understand and demonstrate the basic components of haiku poetry.
  • Illustrated Beauty (Grades 4-6): Students will identify information about the peregrine falcon. Students will understand and apply the basic tools of research to collect, interpret, and present the information.

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