Yellowstone National Park in Park County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
Land of Lodgepoles
Living with Fire
Lodgepole pines thrive in Yellowstone’s harsh climate and thin volcanic soils. These hardy trees cover much of the park and depend on fire to help spread their seeds.
Because fire are common in lodgepole forests, Yellowstone residents have learned to live with fire. Elk and bison often graze calmly nearby. Like other large mammals, they move away when flames approach and are rarely trapped. Birds take flight, small animals escape into their burrows, and fish inhabit ready-made shelters. These refuges offer safety unless a fire is especially intense.
A Fertilized Forest
Yellowstone wildlife are very much at home in the lodgepole forest, and are well adapted to fire. Helicopter surveys revealed that all but a small percentage of wildlife survived the Fires of ’88. Ungulates soon faced a bigger challenge: grasses were sparse after drought and fire, and winter was especially severe. Many ungulates perished, providing nourishment for bears, eagles, coyotes, and others. With the arrival of warm days, grasses, flowers, and lodgepole seedlings sprang to life in ash-enriched sunny openings. This forest home had been rejuvenated with the help of fire.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 44° 39.09′ N, Touch for map. Marker is located on the Two Ribbons Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Yellowstone National Park WY 82190, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Madison River (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Union Pacific Identification Pylon (approx. 3.1 miles away in Montana); The Madison Elk Herd (approx. 7.8 miles away); Plateau of Fire (approx. 8.6 miles away); Murky Past . . . Promising Future (approx. 11.4 miles away); Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake (approx. 12.3 miles away in Montana); Geologists' Dream (approx. 13 miles away in Montana); Earthquake Lake Geologic Area (approx. 13 miles away in Montana). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yellowstone National Park.
More about this marker. The background of the marker contains a photograph of the forest a few years after the Fire of '88.
Categories. • Animals • Horticulture & Forestry •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 22, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 239 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 22, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.