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Photographer: Barry Swackhamer
Taken: May 30, 2016
Caption: Surrounded by Beauty
Additional Description: Imagine standing here and looking at landscape covered with condominiums and private houses. They do not exist because this land belongs to the public. It is protected.
Just Passing Through
Two National Forests border the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway here at Togwotee Pass. These forests, combined with Yellowstone National Park and Teton National Park, form the heart of America's system of public lands.
Shoshone National Forest,
east of the Byway, encompasses 2.4 million acres, spanning parts of the Wind River, Absaroka, and Beartooth Ranges. The Shoshone, established in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, was the Unites States' first National Forest.
Bridger-Teton National Forest,
west of the Byway. At 3.4 million acres, it is the second largest National Forest in the lower 48 states. It was formed in 1972 by combining the Bridger and Teton National Forests, both of which were established in 1904.
Gift of Wilderness
These natural landscapes are just a fraction of the great wilderness that once covered North America -- now mostly tamed and transformed by human development. The fact that they exist at all - that they have survived our very human tendency to celebrate scenic vistas with private development - is a gift from the leaders of the young United States, who chose to designate these lands as a gift to all Americans.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which spans some 18 million acres of mountain country in and around Yellowstone National Park, is the largest intact natural ecosystem remaining in the continental United States. These forests, meadows, wetlands, alpine flower fields, and the animals that depend on them, are all interconnected through lifelines of clean water, across large stretches of undisturbed land.
The lands of the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone National Forests are critical to the health of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Boat National Forests include large areas of Wilderness, an important land use designation that offers one of the highest levels of protection in the National Forest system.
Captions: (upper right) Indian paintbrush and fringed gentian.; Public lands protect watersheds, ensuring that our water supply is clean and health. They protect important natural resources such as minerals and timber. They allow all Americans (and visitors) equal access to explore and experience some of our most treasured landscapes.; (bottom right) Grey wolf and pup.
Submitted: August 1, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
Database Locator Identification Number: p358091
File Size: 3.614 Megabytes
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