Helen Protected Area is located in the central Zagros Mountains, in Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari Province. With approximately 30,000 hectares of oak trees, the area is home to a wide variety of species, including brown bears, leopards, wildcats and eagles.
This region derives its name from Helen’s Mountain, a 3,136m mountain peak named in honor of Helen Jeffreys Bakhtiar of Boise, Idaho, in commemoration of her work as a public health nurse in Iran in the 1950’s. She was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and traveled to Iran to serve as a public health nurse as part of President Truman’s Point Four Program. The rural improvement project sent American experts in agriculture, health and education to work in villages in less-developed countries.