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This Land: A Guide to Central National Forests

Robert H. Mohlenbrock
Foreword by MIKE DOMBECK
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Pages: 405
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    This Land
    Book Description:

    Part armchair travelogue, part guide book, this projected three-volume series-divided into the western, central, and eastern United States-will introduce readers to all 155 national forests across the country.This Landis the only comprehensive field guide that describes the natural features, wildernesses, scenic drives, campgrounds, and hiking trails of our national forests, many of which-while little known and sparsely visited-boast features as spectacular as those found in our national parks and monuments. Each entry includes logistical information about size and location, facilities, attractions, and associated wilderness areas. For about half of the forests, Robert H. Mohlenbrock has provided sidebars on the biological or geological highlights, drawn from the "This Land" column that he has written forNatural Historymagazine since 1984. Superbly illustrated with color photographs, botanical drawings, and maps, this book is loaded with information, clearly written, and easy to use. This volume covers national forests in: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93054-4
    Subjects: Geology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Mike Dombeck

    As the Civil War came to an end, the United States found itself positioned to become a leader among nations. A country of immigrants with a rich endowment of natural resources, America was already a land of opportunity, but the young nation lacked the cultural marks of achievement that characterized its Old World counterparts. Europe had great temples, cathedrals, and museums filled with artifacts. Asia had great dynasties that embodied its long and glorious past. Though short on history, America did have a powerful national spirit that was expressed especially well through its abundant and bountiful land, much of which...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)

    During the rapid development of the United States after the American Revolution, and during most of the twentieth century, many forests in the United States were logged, with the logging often followed by devastating fires; ranchers converted the prairies and the plains into vast pastures for livestock; sheep were allowed to venture onto heretofore undisturbed alpine areas; and great amounts of land were turned over in an attempt to find gold, silver, and other minerals.

    In 1875, the American Forestry Association was born. This organization was asked by Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz to try to change the concept...


    • Ouachita National Forest
      (pp. 2-15)

      About 500 million years ago, a sea covered the area where the Ouachita Mountains are now located. The sea collected thousands of feet of sediments that became compressed and eventually uplifted to form the Ouachita Mountains. These mountains consist of shale, sandstone, limestone, chert, and novaculite. Lying south of the Arkansas River, the Ouachita Mountains are totally different from the Ozark Mountains that are north of the Arkansas River. The Ouachita Mountain Range extends from near Little Rock, Arkansas, to Atoka, Oklahoma, including many mountains that are unique in that they are oriented in an east-to-west direction. The Ouachitas extend...

    • Ozark National Forest
      (pp. 15-31)

      The Ozark National Forest is one of the most scenic regions in the southern United States, and it contains a wide diversity of natural features. Sheer rock cliffs occur along some of the rivers and streams, and rocks that have been eroded into unusual formations are scattered throughout the forest. You can see waterfalls, natural springs, deep canyons, natural lakes, and the best cavern in any national forest. Three features set the Ozark National Forest apart from any other: the Boston Mountains, Blanchard Springs Caverns, and Mount Magazine. The large central part of the Ozark National Forest includes the Boston...

    • St. Francis National Forest
      (pp. 31-36)

      Although the St. Francis National Forest was established in 1960 for areas in Lee and Phillips counties, Arkansas, it is now administered with the Ozark National Forest. Most of the St. Francis National Forest is associated with Crowley’s Ridge, a narrow landform of upland ridges that rise more than 150 feet above flat lowlands and floodplains. Crowley’s Ridge extends for nearly 200 miles, from southeastern Missouri almost to Helena, Arkansas, on the Mississippi River. In the St. Francis National Forest, the ridge is not more than nine miles wide. The ridge is not rocky but consists of windblown soil, or...


    • Arapaho National Forest
      (pp. 38-49)

      Interstate 70 westward out of Denver and Golden is a very scenic highway into the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. When the highway reaches Idaho Springs, it has come to the eastern edge of the Arapaho National Forest, one of the most beautiful and mountainous of all the national forests. The ranger station at the west end of town is a good place to obtain forest literature and to inquire about forest conditions and activities. From Idaho Springs the highest paved mountain road in the world, the Mount Evans Highway (State Route 105), begins and twists its way to...

    • Grand Mesa National Forest
      (pp. 49-56)

      One of the largest flat-topped mountains in the world, Grand Mesa’s 540 square miles is dotted with 300 lakes and ponds, and the surface of the mesa is not really flat but contains narrow ridges, canyons, and an assortment of pinnacles. The mesa is entirely encompassed in the Grand Mesa National Forest. Although the average elevation of the mesa is 10,500 feet, several areas rise above 11,000 feet, with Leon Peak topping out at 11,327 feet. The national forest lies directly east of Grand Junction, with a small, narrow strip north of State Route 330 and a tiny isolated unit...

    • Gunnison National Forest
      (pp. 56-67)

      Gunnison looks like the way a western town is supposed to look, and the landscape surrounding the town epitomizes the west. Much of the land surrounding Gunnison is in the Gunnison National Forest, although two significant areas are administered by the National Park Service—Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument and Curecanti National Recreation Area.

      The Gunnison National Forest is a region of high mountains, although not as high as those of the San Juan Range. Tranquil lakes, peaceful meadows, and clear mountain streams add to the beauty of the area. The forest still has many wild, roadless areas,...

    • Pike National Forest
      (pp. 67-76)

      When most people think of Colorado, Pikes Peak comes to mind. Located in the Pike National Forest, Pikes Peak is perhaps the most famous mountain in the United States. To travelers heading west, Pikes Peak is the first mountain to be seen soon after passing Limon, Colorado, in the plains. Although Capt. Zebulon Pike was one of the first to record an observation of the peak in 1806, it was ascended by Dr. Edwin James (a botanist) and two colleagues on July 14, 1820. They were part of an expedition under the direction of Maj. Stephen Long.

      The 14,110-foot summit...

    • Rio Grande National Forest
      (pp. 76-83)

      The headwaters of the Rio Grande, the nation’s third longest river, are at the far western edge of the Rio Grande National Forest. The forest is flanked on the east by the Sangre de Cristo Range and on the west by the San Juans, with the broad San Juan River valley in between. U.S. Highway 285 and State Route 17 in the heart of the valley separate the two mountain ranges. Throughout the national forest are high peaks, glacial cirques, tarns, reservoirs, clear trout-filled streams, and rugged mountain passes.

      Most of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range is in the...

    • Roosevelt National Forest
      (pp. 83-91)

      The Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway connects Central City and Estes Park. Except for the southernmost six miles, which are in the Arapaho National Forest, the scenic byway winds and climbs through the eastern side of the Roosevelt National Forest. It is a great highway from which to explore this part of the national forest as well as Rocky Mountain National Park, which is located just west of Estes Park. A few miles north of Central City, the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway comes to Rollinsville and the eastern entrance to the Moffat, or Rollins Pass, Road. Following...

    • Routt National Forest
      (pp. 92-96)

      The popular resort town of Steamboat Springs is surrounded by the Routt National Forest, with the Park Range dominating to the east and the Flat Tops Plateau to the southwest. The Elkhead Mountains lie northwest of Steamboat Springs. The most familiar landmark in the national forest is Rabbit Ears Peak, whose crumbly twin peaks give this formation its name. Rabbit Ears Peak has been a landmark for travelers for centuries. The peak can be reached by a two-mile trail from Dumont Lake, just north of U.S. Highway 40. Dumont Lake also features a lakeside campground. You may also take an...

    • San Isabel National Forest
      (pp. 96-109)

      The highest peak in Colorado, Mount Elbert, at 14,433 feet, is in the San Isabel National Forest, but there are 20 peaks in the forest with an elevation of 14,000 feet or more. Dotted throughout the forest are beautiful mountain lakes and streams.

      The San Isabel National Forest comprises three noncontiguous units. The northernmost unit, and by far the largest in extent, includes the Sawatch Range, the highest mountain range in Colorado, and the Sangre de Cristo Range. South of Cañon City is a unit of the national forest that encompasses the Wet Mountains. The southernmost unit, located west of...

    • San Juan National Forest
      (pp. 109-117)

      The San Juan Mountains comprise the longest continuous mountain range in the United States and are among the highest, with many peaks more than 13,000 feet. Many of the San Juans are in the San Juan National Forest where the average elevation is around 10,400 feet, and the Continental Divide passes through them. The San Juan National Forest is one of the prettiest, with uncountable canyons, numerous streams, an abundance of high mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, archaeological remains, dense forests, alpine tundra, and wildflower-laden meadows, but much of it is seldom seen because of some very remote areas, many of...

    • Uncompahgre National Forest
      (pp. 117-124)

      The Uncompahgre National Forest consists of two distinct units, each very different but both beautiful in their own way. The western unit encompasses most of the Uncompahgre Plateau, a mesa at extremely high elevation penetrated by rugged canyons. The eastern unit includes the northern mountains of the San Juan Range, with jagged peaks, glacial lakes, narrow canyons, and swift, clear streams. These mountains between Ouray and Telluride are often referred to as the Switzerland of America.

      The Uncompahgre Plateau runs diagonally northwest to southeast, roughly between State Route 145, the Unaweep-Tabeguache Byway, to State Route 62, the highway from Ridgway...

    • White River National Forest
      (pp. 124-134)

      The Rocky Mountains dominate the White River National Forest, with many peaks in excess of 14,000 feet. The incomparable Maroon Bells is the most photographed region in any national forest and is the centerpiece of the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness. This wilderness, whose southern portion is in the Gunnison National Forest, has six of the 14,000-foot peaks, nine passes above 12,000 feet, and more than 100 miles of hiking trails. Because of the great number of visitors to the area during summer, the 10.5-mile road from Aspen to Maroon Lake at the edge of the wilderness is closed to private...


    • Kisatchie National Forest
      (pp. 136-142)

      The Kisatchie National Forest is scattered in eight discrete parcels in northern, western, and central Louisiana. Although the forest consists of some swampland, there is rugged terrain with steep slopes, rocky outcrops, and flat-topped mesas more reminiscent of the western United States. Many lakes, some natural, others artificial, are dotted across the national forest and provide ample opportunity for water-based activities. Miles of hiking trails cross streams and swamps and climb over rolling hills. The forest has a surprising diversity of natural habitats, some of them not normally associated with Louisiana.

      Because of the mesalike buttes and various rock formations,...


    • Chippewa National Forest
      (pp. 144-150)

      The Chippewa National Forest is in the heart of the Great North Woods of the United States. Minnesota is the Land of Lakes, and the Chippewa has more than 700 lakes, 940 miles of rivers and streams, and countless marshes, bogs, fens, and forested wetlands. More than two-thirds of the national forest are either water or wetlands.

      Several automobile routes that have been designated as scenic byways provide access to most parts of the national forest. A byway known simply as The Scenic Highway (State Route 39) is on the western side of the Chippewa. Beginning in the north at...

    • Superior National Forest
      (pp. 150-156)

      The Superior National Forest is unlike any other national forest. It has more miles of connected water routes than it has automobile roads. The national forest has more than 2,000 lakes greater than 10 acres in size and 2,400 backcountry campsites that can be reached only by water, about 200 outside the wilderness and 2,200 in the wilderness. The Superior National Forest is a mixed coniferous forest and aspen–birch forest, with white pine, red pine, jack pine, balsam fir, white spruce, and black spruce the dominant species for conifers. Here and there, however, are large stands of yellow birch,...


    • Mark Twain National Forest
      (pp. 158-182)

      The Ozark Mountains are among the oldest in the United States, having been uplifted some 250 million years ago. The center of the uplift is the St. Francois Mountains in southeastern Missouri. Although the Ozark Mountains have great areas of exposed granite, they also have what is known as karst topography and a type of rock known as chert. Karst topography develops when water flows over limestone and dolomite rock, gradually dissolving and cracking the rock, resulting in the formation of caves, sinkholes, springs, arches, and natural bridges. All of these features are present in the Mark Twain National Forest....

    • Plates
      (pp. None)

    • Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
      (pp. 184-191)

      Until 1996, the Beaverhead and Deerlodge National Forests were separate entities, but today, they have been combined into one huge forest that spreads over 3.3 million acres in western and southwestern Montana.

      The circle of mountains surrounding the town of Dillon, Montana, and encompassing much of the old Beaverhead National Forest has a major influence on the climate and vegetation of the area. The crest of the Madison Range forms the eastern boundary of the Beaverhead portion of the forest, and the Tobacco Root Range is at the north. Along the northwest, west, and southwest boundaries of the Beaverhead portion...

    • Bitterroot National Forest
      (pp. 192-199)

      The Bitterroot National Forest and the Bitterroot Mountains are named for the bitterroot plant, a small wildflower with gorgeous, oversized flowers (pl. 23). With numerous glowing pink petals, the flowers of the bitterroot, which measure up to two inches across, open from late April to July. Bitterroot plants grow on open slopes, and their leaves appear as soon as the snow melts, only to wither before the flowering season is over. The root itself has been a major source of food since native inhabitants lived in the area, and Meriwether Lewis collected it in the Bitterroot Valley in 1806. The...

    • Custer National Forest
      (pp. 199-204)

      Perhaps no other national forest has as much contrast as the Custer National Forest, which goes from dry prairie areas with conspicuous buttes in northwestern South Dakota to the Beartooth Mountains of southern Montana, one of the most rugged mountain ranges in the country.

      A chain of three lofty mountain peaks, all reaching for the sky at elevations above 12,000 feet, is the dominant feature of the Beartooth Mountains at the western edge of the Custer National Forest. Surrounding these peaks are smaller but no less rugged mountains and high plateaus where an interesting array of plant and animal life...

    • Flathead National Forest
      (pp. 204-208)

      The Flathead National Forest epitomizes the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States. Here are rugged peaks, alpine lakes, scintillating waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams, wildflower-laden meadows, vast river valleys, towering old-growth coniferous forests, and one of the last places in the lower 48 states where all the wildlife present when Lewis and Clark explored the west are still present in their natural environment.

      All of these are primary features of the wilderness areas that make up 48 percent of the Flathead National Forest. Great Bear Wilderness, Bob Marshall Wilderness, and Scapegoat Wilderness are connected north to south to provide for...

    • Gallatin National Forest
      (pp. 208-217)

      Persons visiting Yellowstone National Park who do not venture into the adjacent Gallatin National Forest are missing a marvelous area of mountain peaks, glacial lakes, rugged valleys, dense coniferous forests, and tumbling waterfalls. The Gallatin National Forest borders Yellowstone National Park on the north and northwest and then extends northward past Bozeman and Livingston for several miles. The Yellowstone, Gallatin, and Boulder Rivers penetrate the national forest. Several mountain ranges are within the Gallatin National Forest.

      Stretching northward from Bozeman for 27 miles is the Bridger Range, named for scout and frontiersman Jim Bridger who brought early settlers into the...

    • Helena National Forest
      (pp. 217-221)

      The Helena National Forest typifies the Wild West, with mountain peaks, bubbling streams, coniferous forests, ghost towns, and old mine sites. The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through this region, making camp on the banks of the Missouri River on July 19, 1805. In his journal for that date, Meriwether Lewis wrote “This evening we entered the most remarkable cliffs that we have yet seen. These cliffs rise from the water’s edge on either side perpendicularly to the height of 1,200 feet … from the singular appearance of this place, I called it the Gates of the Rocky Mountains.” Today,...

    • Kootenai National Forest
      (pp. 222-226)

      Mountains surround the northwestern Montana town of Libby, and most of these mountains are in the Kootenai National Forest. The Purcell Mountains occupy the northwestern fourth of the national forest, with the Salish Mountains and the Whitefish Mountains in the east. The wild and woolly Cabinet Mountains are south of Libby, with part of this range in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. The Kootenai and Clarks Fork Rivers cross the national forest, each river being dammed in places to create large reservoirs. The Kootenai has been dammed to form Lake Koocanusa, whereas Clarks Ford has two dams, one forming Cabinet Gorge...

    • Lewis and Clark National Forest
      (pp. 227-231)

      Lewis and Clark National Forest has two distinct divisions, and each has very different characteristics. West of Great Falls is the Rocky Mountain Division where the mountains are extremely rugged and where access is limited. To the south and east of Great Falls is the Jefferson Division, which consists of six mountain ranges, all more gentle in character and more readily accessible to visitors.

      The Rocky Mountain Division is dominated by two vast wilderness areas, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Scapegoat Wilderness. These wildernesses make up nearly 60 percent of the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

      If you have...

    • Lolo National Forest
      (pp. 231-238)

      Traveling U.S. Highway 12 from Missoula, Montana, to the Idaho border, important events in the history of the great northwest are recalled. The highway closely follows the historic Lolo Trail that Nez Perce Indians used to reach the Weippe Prairie hunting area in Idaho from Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. Although the trail was 120 miles long, only the 29-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 12 from the village of Lolo, which is situated a few miles south of Missoula, to Lolo Pass on the Montana-Idaho border winds in and out of the Lolo National Forest.

      In 1805, Lewis and Clark used this...


    • Nebraska National Forest
      (pp. 240-242)

      The Nebraska National Forest is most unusual in that the forest in one of the two districts is reconstructed. Prior to 1903, the central part of Nebraska was typical Great Plains, with trees found only along waterways. University of Nebraska botany professor Charles Bessey got the idea that trees should be able to survive and grow in forest stands in the sandy soil of central Nebraska. In 1903, millions of tree seedlings were set out in an area around Halsey. These seedlings did grow and mature, developing into a reconstructed forest that makes up half of the Nebraska National Forest...

    • Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
      (pp. 243-244)

      Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest, like the Bessey District of the Nebraska National Forest, contains a reconstructed forest on rolling sandy hills and sand dunes. The planting of trees in the forest in 1903 along the Niobrara River was the result of Charles Bessey, University of Nebraska botany professor, who pushed for the establishment of forested areas in the Great Plains. Today, about 2,300 acres of the national forest have been planted successfully with nearly 750,000 trees. The success rates for the plantings have been best for ponderosa pine, followed by eastern red cedar, jack pine, and the nonnative Scot’s...


    • Carson National Forest
      (pp. 246-253)

      Approximately 135 million years ago, a great geological uplift formed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and this range is the backbone of the Carson National Forest. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains begin where the western edge of the Great Plains ends, and the range is nearly 200 miles long, from a point between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico, at the south end to Salida, Colorado, at the north end. The mountains contain Wheeler Peak, the highest summit in all of New Mexico and the southwestern United States at 13,161 feet. Wheeler Peak is in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness,...

    • Cibola National Forest
      (pp. 253-265)

      The vast and spread-out Cibola National Forest consists of several mountain ranges on all sides of Albuquerque. Because of its nearness to this metropolis, the Sandia Mountains are the most popular and most visited in the national forest. The spectacular granite west face looms 5,700 feet above Albuquerque. The east slope is more gentle and heavily forested with occasional exposed limestone. At the western base of the Sandias is semidesert vegetation, whereas on the crest, alpine vegetation occurs. In the upper parts of the mountain are forests of Douglas fir and corkbark fir, the latter with an ashy gray bark...

    • Gila National Forest
      (pp. 265-273)

      The Gila National Forest has the distinction of being the first national forest in the country to have a wilderness area when, on June 3, 1924, Gila Wilderness was established at the urging of naturalist and author Aldo Leopold. Because of Leopold’s enthusiasm for having wilderness areas set aside, a second wilderness in the Gila National Forest has been named in his honor. Along with the smaller Blue Range Wilderness, nearly 25 percent of the Gila National Forest is in wilderness areas. The three wildernesses are virtually side by side from west to east, with the Blue Range Wilderness abutting...

    • Lincoln National Forest
      (pp. 273-280)

      Three distinct units make up New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest, and the elevations within the national forest range from low desert to mountain peaks, one of which tops out at 12,003 feet. As a result, a wide range of vegetation communities may be observed; the Lincoln is one of the few national forests that encompasses part of the Chihuahuan Desert.

      The southeastern district abuts Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park and extends to the Texas border. It consists primarily of a part of the Guadalupe Mountain Range. The middle district lies east of Alamogordo, with the Sacramento...

    • Santa Fe National Forest
      (pp. 280-291)

      East of Santa Fe, the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains rises to enormous heights, with Truchas Peak at 13,103 feet, Santa Fe Baldy at 12,623 feet, Lake Peak at 12,409 feet, and Penitente Peak at 12,402 feet, among the highest. Many of them can be seen as you drive U.S. Highways 84 and 85 between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico. Southwest of the Sangre de Cristo Range and southeast of Santa Fe is the large and impressive Glorieta Mesa. The western side of the Santa Fe National Forest, lying west of U.S. Highways 64 and...


    • Black Hills National Forest
      (pp. 293-301)

      The ponderosa pines that clothe the hills in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming look very dark from a distance, and because of this, the region became known as the Black Hills. Visitors to the area to see Mount Rushmore or the Crazy Horse carving pass through a part of the Black Hills National Forest. Within the national forest is Harney Peak, at 7,242 feet, the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. In northeastern Wyoming, the Black Hills National Forest also includes most of the Bear Lodge Mountains.

      The flora and fauna of the Black...


    • Angelina National Forest
      (pp. 303-309)

      The huge Sam Rayburn Reservoir divides the Angelina National Forest into two nearly equal halves, one northeast of the reservoir centered around Broaddus, and one southwest of the reservoir around Zavalla. The national forest is in the Pineywoods Vegetational Province of Texas, but the forests were cut before they became public lands in the 1930s. Present timber management is carried out following guidelines in the land management plan. The national forest has outstanding areas of longleaf pine, shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, and a good variety of hardwood species.

      The national forest boasts of several different types of plant communities, many...

    • Davy Crockett National Forest
      (pp. 310-312)

      Unlike the national forests of Texas that lie to the east, the Davy Crockett National Forest has a preponderance of understory oaks with an overstory of pines. The whole aspect of the national forest is different.

      At the center of the national forest is the Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area where you may camp, picnic, fish, swim, and hike. Campsites sit all around the 45-acre lake. The 1.5-mile Tall River Trail is a great one for families as it alternates between forests of pines and hardwood species. During spring, flowering dogwood (fig. 20) is a delight along the trail, and an...

    • Sabine National Forest
      (pp. 312-316)

      The Sabine National Forest is in the Pineywoods Province of east Texas, with huge Toledo Bend Reservoir forming the eastern boundary of the national forest. Toledo Bend is the fifth largest artificial reservoir in the country. Although almost all the forest has been logged extensively in the past, there are a few significant and isolated plant communities scattered about. One of the finest is Mill Creek Cove, nestled between two lobes of the Toledo Bend Reservoir shoreline. This old-growth forest has a cathedral-like appearance with the canopy height averaging 120 feet. Beech and southern magnolia dominate the cove, although a...

    • Sam Houston National Forest
      (pp. 316-321)

      The Sam Houston National Forest consists of two major tracts, one southwest of Huntsville toward Conroe and one southeast toward Cleveland, and several isolated smaller parcels of land beginning four miles east of Huntsville.

      Lake Conroe penetrates the block of land southwest of Huntsville, providing ample opportunity for fishing and boating activities. At the upper reaches of Lake Conroe is an old oxbow now known as Lake Stubblefield. Fishing and canoeing are especially popular on the lake. The campground on the south shore of this lake is nestled beneath southern pines and various kinds of oaks, and flowering dogwood add...


    • Bighorn National Forest
      (pp. 323-330)

      The Bighorn National Forest is in the heart of the Bighorn Mountains that rise abruptly out of the Great Plains in north-central Wyoming. The Big Horn, Tongue, and Powder Rivers are in the national forest, all emptying into the Yellowstone River. The national forest, mountains, and river are named for bighorn sheep that inhabit the area. The Sioux, Crow, and Cheyenne Indians lived in the Bighorn Mountains prior to the many battles during the 1860s and 1870s when settlers came into the area.

      Three scenic byways that cross the Bighorn National Forest and roads off of them allow visitors to...

    • Bridger-Teton National Forest
      (pp. 330-340)

      The Bridger-Teton National Forest is two forests in one. Although the two are contiguous, they were combined into one administrative unit in 1973.

      The Teton is the northernmost of the two forests, with its northern border reaching the southern edge of Yellowstone National Park. The Bridger is mostly south of the Teton and is divided into an eastern division and a western division. The Bridger-Teton National Forest is a scenic high mountain area that includes several mountain ranges.

      The Teton National Forest occupies a horseshoe-shaped area around Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. The Snake River Range forms the...

    • Medicine Bow National Forest
      (pp. 341-345)

      The Medicine Bow National Forest comprises three discreet units along the southern and southeastern border of Wyoming and a fourth unit north of Laramie. Thirty miles west of Laramie are the magnificent Medicine Bow Mountains, popularly known as the Snowy Mountain Range. West of the Medicine Bow Mountains are the Sierra Madres. East of Laramie are the more gentle mountains and rolling hills of the Pole Mountain District. North of Laramie are the Laramie Mountains, part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

      The Snowy Mountains occupy about 40 percent of the Medicine Bow National Forest and extend from...

    • Shoshone National Forest
      (pp. 346-352)

      The Yellowstone Park Timberland Reserve was set aside by proclamation by President Benjamin Harrison in 1891. Later, the major part of that reserve became the Shoshone National Forest. Thus the Shoshone National Forest and the Teton National Forest, which was set aside the same day, were the country’s first national forests. The Shoshone is sometimes referred to as the horse forest because so much of it can be reached only by horseback because of the lack of roads in the very rugged terrain. Fifty-eight percent of the national forest is in designated wilderness, and some of the land that is...

    (pp. 353-354)
    (pp. 355-368)
    (pp. 369-388)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 389-389)