We are very fortunate to guide, instruct, and live in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The GYE is a huge geographical area roughly encompassing 22 million acres of NW Wyoming and parts of Eastern Idaho and Montana.
The area includes all of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. Plus 11 wilderness areas, (Gros Ventre, Fitzpatrick, Popo Agie, Jedediah Smith, Winegar Hole, Washakie, Teton, North Absaroka, Absaroka/Beartooth, Lee Metcalf) six National Forests, (Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Gallatin, Custer, Shoshone, Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee) three wildlife refuges, (the National Elk Refuge, Red Rock and Grays Lakes National Wildlife Refuges) and parts of the Wind River Indian Reservation, Bureau of Land Management Lands, state lands and significant areas of private land - many protected by land trust conservation easements.
The GYE has worldly importance as the largest nearly intact ecosystem in a temperate zone in the world, containing the vast majority of species of plants and animals that existed prior to the arrival of European settlers and one of the worlds’ largest collection of geothermal features. The original concept of the GYE was created by renowned scientists and adventurers Frank & John Craighead after their pioneering work in radio-tracking grizzly bears and their movements in and around Yellowstone. They quickly realized that the bears regularly roamed all around both parks and beyond.
While the area has been at the forefront of the modern conservation movement - beginning with the founding of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, there are many threats facing this wonderful yet fragile area. Climate change, population growth in the region, land development, increased recreation, habitat fragmentation, the encroachment of invasive and non-native species are all among the threats that are adversely affecting the GYE.
Fortunately, there are many guardians working to protect this special place and an amazing amount of conservation work has been and continues to be done. In addition to the fine stewardship work of federal land management agencies including the National Park Service, National Forest Service, US Fish, and Wildlife Service and state and tribal management agencies, there is a myriad of non-profit conservation and stewardship organizations, land trusts and individuals whose sole focus is the long term protection of the GYE.
Conservation and stewardship are dynamic processes. We are fortunate for the conservation legacy that began with the formation of Yellowstone National Park, but everyone who enjoys the GYE has a responsibility to help protect it - we hope you enjoy this spectacular area and hope you join us to become one of its stewards and defenders.