U.S. Forest Service

Courtesy of David Cernicek

The Bridger-Teton National Forest wants to study whether more of the forest's rivers can be designated as a Wild and Scenic River and is now inviting public comment online.

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue

Fire season has been delayed by a cool, rainy June, but state and federal agencies say they are prepared to go to work if and when the fires start.

A group of wildlife advocates is suing the federal government, saying they need to have more of a role in helping to prevent grizzly bear deaths on national forest land in Idaho and Wyoming.


Public Domain

There are few Western issues as controversial as prairie dogs. Some people hate them because they cut down grass livestock need to eat. Others love them because they're a keystone species… creating an ecosystem that attracts dozens of other species. Now the U.S. Forest Service has released a proposed plan for how to manage prairie dogs on the Thunder Basin National Grasslands in eastern Wyoming. That's a place where the species has experienced huge swings in population in recent years. 

Plenty of studies have shown how bark beetle infestations have decimated evergreen trees throughout the Rocky Mountain region, but research scientists wanted to figure out how this tree die-off was affecting actual forest animals. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service found that some species suffered, while others benefited.

Melodie Edwards

The sun is coming up lavender and peach as we drive out onto Wyoming's eastern plains. Defenders of Wildlife's Chamois Anderson is taking me out in search of prairie dogs.

Vicki Christiansen was sworn in this morning as Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. She’s only the second female to serve in this role in its 113-year history.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing changes to sage grouse protections that would make it easier to develop — especially energy — on vast swaths of land where the chicken-like bird lives.

U.S. Forest Service

Fall might be in the air, but wildfires continue to burn across the country. One of the largest is in Wyoming and has reached over 60,000 acres.

Sybille Research and Visitor Center

A U.S. district court has decided to end a long-term permit for an elk feeding ground in the Bridger Teton National Forest in northwest Wyoming, saying the agency did not do enough to analyze the risk of chronic wasting disease to animals there.

public domain

If there's a fee for either a camping site or a day use area on Forest Service land, there's probably some kind of toilet there. But solving the problem of human waste in vaulted or backcountry toilets is not as easy as flushing it out of the system.

As record wildfires rage across the West, funding for fire prevention science is in jeopardy. Under President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal, cuts to various programs will be significant.

Portrait photographers working in the region have been getting reminders lately of a federal rule that they need permits to shoot on forest service land.

President Trump just dismantled policies requiring federal agencies reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and meet other environmental targets.


The tamarisk plant, also called saltcedar, is infesting waterways across the West. The scaly-leafed shrub can grow taller than a person. It sucks up a lot of water and spits out salt, making the soil around it too salty for other plants to grow.

“It’s very bad, yes,” says Alex Gaffke, a graduate student in land resources and environmental science at Montana State University.

Alanna Elder

Standing behind a card table filled with stacks of pamphlets, Joy and Duane Koewn greeted people as they walk into the Forest Service’s open house in Laramie. Their mission was to get people to oppose the Landscape Vegetation Analysis, or LaVA – a project that will enable the U.S. Forest Service to cut, thin, or burn up to 360,000 acres of forest land over 10 to 15 years.

 Logo of the United States Forest Service
US Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service closed its comment period asking the public whether to reopen sage grouse conservation plans. The National Wildlife Federation found that over 120,000 comments were submitted requesting the agency to keep the plans how they are. The organization, along with several other conservation groups, analyzed the comments to come up with the number. 

In a new report, the Government Accountability Office criticizes public lands agencies for poor management of grazing permits. The watchdog says conflicts and armed standoffs over grazing rights, like the one in 2014 in Nevada, would be less likely if public land agencies improved their permit tracking methods.

Western Wyoming Fire Prevention and Education Team

A campaign led by the Western Wyoming Fire Prevention and Education Team is working to remind residents and tourists of things they can do to prepare for wildfires. The team is a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wyoming’s Forestry Division, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wyoming Fire Danger Is Low

May 23, 2016
U.S. Forest Service

This week federal officials said that a dry spring has them concerned that there could be a serious summer fire season in the western United States. Of course, few of us in Wyoming understand what a dry spring looks like. Bill Crapser is Wyoming’s state forester. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

14 years ago, the state’s bighorn sheep herds were dying from pneumonia that was thought to have been contracted from grazing domestic sheep. Since then, the state has worked with wildlife advocates and ranchers on the so-called Wyoming Plan which designates areas for each species. Last year, the Legislature passed bills formally adopting the Wyoming Plan in hopes of keeping domestic sheep from spreading pneumonia to wild sheep.

A militia group occupying a wildlife refuge in Oregon argues that Westerners want to turn federal lands over to states and private interests. But a new poll released Monday shows that’s not the case.

A majority of voters in seven Rocky Mountain states say they oppose state or private control of public lands. Wyoming was more split on the subject with about 54% of respondents in agreement, compared to 87% in Utah, 59% in Colorado and 63% in Arizona.

Environmental advocates are celebrating this week after Congress passed a bipartisan spending bill that at one point included several provisions blocking conservation efforts.

After much talk of letting it lapse, the 50-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund was re-authorized to fund city parks and national park in-holdings. It also gave a 6% increase to federal land management agencies, a total of over $32 billion.

Melodie Edwards

For women, it’s never been easy breaking into male-dominated fields. That was the case for Susan Marsh. She’s the author of a new book called A Hunger For High Country. It’s a memoir about how her childhood love for nature led her to become a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service. Marsh is now retired and writing a natural history of Jackson’s Cache Creek. On a wildflower walk along the creek with Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards, she talked about her years of struggle during a time when the Forest Service hired very few women.

The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is looking at closing or limiting access to some 150 miles of forest roads on the west side of the Snowy Range near Saratoga. Every few years, the Forest Service is required to evaluate its roads to make sure they are safe and to budget their upkeep. Forest Service Spokesman Aaron Voos says some roads—like the Cedar Pass Road over Kennedy Peak—just aren’t salvageable.

Melodie Edwards

When you hear the word “boom” in the West, you usually think of the energy industry. But in the last 15 years, there’s been another kind: a timber boom. That’s thanks to the mountain pine beetle, a tiny ravenous bug that’s now chomped its way through over 40 million acres of forest in the U.S., moving north into Canada, expanding its reach as the climate warms.  To clean up all that dead wood, forest managers have turned to the timber industry, leading to a surge in jobs and enterprise. But now, the bugs have almost eaten themselves out of food.

Melodie Edwards

When it comes to the spread of disease from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep, it’s not that different from the arrival of Europeans in the Americas when small pox and other diseases killed millions of indigenous people. Without a built-in immunity, pneumonia can wipe out an entire bighorn sheep herd in no time. And that’s why, last week, the Wyoming legislature passed a pair of historic bills that will effectively keep the two species apart.

Former U.S. Forest Service employee Brian Stout was supervisor of the Bridger-Teton National Forest from 1984 to 1994 and held various other positions in the forest service for the 24 years preceding that.

Stout recently published a book called “Trees of Life: Our Forests in Peril.” He says he wrote the book because he feels that the current way of managing forests is misguided.

A Wyoming man has won a U-S Supreme Court  decision over a dispute with the U-S Forest Service.  Marvin Brandt of Fox Park swapped his land for 83 acres of Medicine Bow Forest Service land in the 70’s, with the understanding that the land would be his if a railroad that used the land ever stopped running. 

landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov

Wyoming Republican John Barrasso is leading a fight in the U.S. Senate to change regulations on timber harvesting in national forests. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that environmentalists and foresters are suspicious of his idea.

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