Bridger-Teton National Forest
Sunrise over Wind River Range. Photo by gmiphone/Flickr
At A Glance
- The forest is home to 6 species of amphibians, 6 species of reptiles, 74 species of mammals, 355 species of birds and 25 species of fish.
- The highest peak is Gannett Peak. At 13,804 feet it is also the highest point in Wyoming.
- The forest is named, in part, for Jim Bridger, a famous mountain man, trapper and guide. In 1850, he found what would eventually be known as Bridger’s Pass, which shortened the Oregon Trail by 61 miles. Bridger’s Pass would later be the chosen route for both the Union Pacific Railroad and later Interstate 80.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest, just southeast of Jackson, Wyoming, encompasses an astounding 3.4 million acres of land. The jagged peaks of the snow-capped mountains create a dramatic landscape emblematic of the American West. As part of the 18 million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—the last intact ecosystem in the lower 48 states—the forest provides a home for an abundance of wildlife like grizzly bears, wolves, elk and bald eagles. With thousands of miles of trails and waterways, the recreational opportunities for the public are virtually endless.
Protecting Small Properties With Big Impact
In an effort to ensure continued public access to the Wind River Mountain Range, The Conservation Fund and the USDA Forest Service, with key support from the Wyoming congressional delegation, protected an important 40-acre property within the Bridger-Teton National Forest in 2009. Located on the west side of the Wind River Mountains, north of Pinedale, the property gives the public access to a network of trails leading to the Bridger Wilderness in the foothills of the Wind River Range and is vital to the continuation of hiking, hunting, camping and other outdoor recreational activities in the area.
More recently, a partnership between the Jackson Hole Land Trust and the Fund enabled the protection of a 37-acre property in central Teton County with critical winter habitat for bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer as well as a popular trailhead and trail used by hikers and hunters to access the Gros Ventre Wilderness. In August 2013, the USDA Forest Service acquired the property, with support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and added it to the Bridger-Teton National Forest.