The Bridger-Teton National Forest offers ample opportunities for hunting, angling and other forms of outdoor recreation. (Josh Metten)


It’s no secret that Wyoming residents and visitors from all over the world love the Bridger-Teton National Forest. At over 3.4-million acres, this wild, working landscape of forests, wildflower-filled meadows, winding rivers, and steep glaciated peaks provides essential habitat for eight species of big game. Elk, mule deer, moose, whitetail deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain goat and bison live in the scree fields, forests and river valleys. It’s habitat that includes the longest-known mule deer migration in the world: a nearly 250-mile one-way journey called the Red Desert to Hoback migration. Grizzlies, wolves and even elusive wolverines can still be found here. Anglers pursue all four of Wyoming’s native cutthroat trout species in the streams of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, along with other sport fishing opportunities across the region’s numerous lakes and waterways.

The Bridger-Teton is also an important working landscape. For over 100 years, stock growers have summered cattle in the lush meadows of the upper Green River. In the fall, these herds “drift” back south to home pastures along well-worn travel routes. Year-round outdoor recreation, from snowmobiling and backcountry skiing to mountain biking, backpacking and four-wheeling facilitates the exploration of this cherished landscape.

As an outdoorsman, I look forward to venturing into the BTNF each fall with a bow or rifle to pursue elk and deer. The solitude and connection to the natural world I’ve found while rambling around remote drainages in the Palisades, Gros Ventre Mountains and Wyoming Range are priceless memories that will last a lifetime.

This is our opportunity to shape how this invaluable landscape is managed for decades to come.

There are many reasons to love the BTNF, and it’s my hope that future generations can experience one of the wildest landscapes in the Lower 48 states just as I have. That’s why it’s critical to participate in the upcoming process the U.S. Forest Service is initiating to revise the management of the forest. The forest is currently compiling a draft assessment report, which outlines the current “state of the forest.” Once completed, this information will be used, along with public participation, to draft much-needed revisions to the forest plan.

It’s been over 30 years since the Bridger-Teton forest plan was last revised.  In that time our understanding of the ecological processes occurring in this landscape, along with how we seek to use this incredible resource, has changed dramatically. In fact, according to the agency, a focus on ecosystems is a key change emerging in forest planning. Forest plan revisions entail long, multiyear processes, but they only come around once every few decades. This is our opportunity to shape how this invaluable landscape is managed for decades to come.  

Want to add your voice to the conversation? Contact me at Or learn more about the forest planning process here.

Josh Metten is the Wyoming field manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. He lives in Cody and can be reached at

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  1. SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE:: Forest Plan Revisions typically have something for everyone in them. Wilderness advocates will get some of their wants, timber harvesting will get some logging, secure habitat for wildlife ( roadless ) advocates will get some designated areas, trails advocates will get concessions, grazing will be addressed, ORV trails will be designated, etc. Please accept the fact that the USFS will try to please everyone to a certain extent – so even if you’re anti-grazing you should expect grazing to be continued – its all about compromise and being tolerant of other advocates recommendations.

  2. Josh: during the earliest stages of the revision of Federal land management plans – called the scoping phase – local government agencies can officially be granted a seat at the table – this offer to participate as a bonafide governmental agency is usually extended in writing and must be replied to specifying the expertise the local governmental agency is able to bring to the scoping meetings. Typically, the Board of County Commissioners, Conservation Districts, Weed and Pest Districts, Fire Protection Districts and native tribes may want to participate as a scoping partner. Advocacy groups and non-profits are not allowed to scope because they are not governmental agencies – usually defined as elected boards with taxing/mill levee authority. At this time, State government agencies such as Game and Fish and the Governor’s Office will be granted ” cooperating agency” status too. Advocacy groups can participate in Conservation District meetings and ask the district to submit their recommendations during the early phases of scoping. This is a good reason for individuals to run for office on the various local boards so you can have influence during the scoping phase – each district/board will typically designate one person to represent them during the scoping phase – the conservation districts should designate one of their board members to attend the scoping meetings and submit recommendations of behalf of the district. If you want to get something done, do not send a brain dead person who likes to attend meetings and pretend like they’re important – send someone thats outgoing and not afraid to speak up. Its known as ” COOPERATING AGENCIES”.