Bridger-Teton National Forest is located in western Wyoming, United States and consists of a total of 3.4 million acres (13,800 km²), making it the second largest National Forest, second to Alaska. The BTNF stretches from Yellowstone National Park, along the eastern boundary of Grand Teton National Park and continues to ride along the western slope of the Continental Divide to the southern end of the Wind River Range. The forest also extends southward encompassing the Salt River Range and Wyoming Range mountains near the Idaho border. Located within the forest are the Gros Ventre, Bridger Wilderness and Teton Wildernesses totaling 1.3 million acres (4,900 km²).
WWA Scoping Comments for Teton to Snake Fuels Management Project Environmental Impact Statement (PDF)
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THE 2001 ROADLESS RULE AND AREAS OF POTENTIAL WILDERNESS
Under the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001 inventoried roadless areas of record were fixed in time and place. National forest policy related to this rule holds that inventoried roadless areas contain important environmental values that warrant protection. Accordingly, until a forest-scale roads analysis is completed and incorporated into a forest plan, inventoried roadless areas shall, as a general rule, be managed to preserve their roadless characteristics. However, where a line officer determines that an exception may be warranted, the decision to approve a road management activity or timber harvest in these areas was once reserved to Chief of the Forest Service, but is now the domain of the Secretary of Agriculture. On a project-specific basis, the Secretary, for good cause, may grant exceptions to the reservations of authority upon the written request of a Regional Forester or Forest Supervisor. This has never occurred on the BTNF.
Click HERE for more information on the Roadless Rule.
has identified areas within the forest that might be potential additions to the
national wilderness preservation system. These are called AREAS OF POTENTIAL
WILDERNESS instead of ‘roadless‘ areas to avoid confusion between those
areas legally bound by the 2001 rule and those that result from the updated and
corrected maps of forest roads and trails.
THE LAW ON NEW WILDERNESS EVALUATIONS
[The regulations implementing the National Forest Management Act require that, …roadless areas within the National Forest System shall be evaluated and considered for recommendation as potential wilderness areas during the forest planning process (36 CFR 219.17, 1982). [Note: Regulations for the 2000 Planning Rule (36 CFR 219.27), not now in effect, require that "…all undeveloped areas that are of sufficient size as to make practicable their preservation and use in an unimpaired condition must be evaluated for recommended wilderness designation during the plan revision process."] Further requirements for evaluation and designation of wilderness are in Forest Service Manual (FSM) 1923, FSM 2320 and Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 1909.12, Chapter 7. Roadless and undeveloped areas are also important for the nonmotorized recreation, ecological and other values they help provide. Some areas also have substantial motorized trail recreation values.
OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Seven of the largest glaciers outside of Alaska are located within the Bridger-Teton forest boundaries. However, glaciers in the region have experienced ongoing negative balances and glacier shrinkage. Examination of Dinwoody and Gannett Glacier indicated relatively little change in terminus position or areal extent from 1958-1983. Since 1983 retreat rates have again accelerated on these two glaciers. There is are no recent field observations of mass balance, glacier thickness or glacier extent change in the Wind River Range, and satellite imagery is the only means to assess glacier response in the region to climate change over the last 40 years. Of the 15 glacier examined six have experienced insignificant change in glacier margin and ice thickness. Gannett and Dinwoody Glacier are the two largest glaciers in the range and despite significant terminus retreat, the accumulation zones remain unchanged.
On Fremont Glacier, the change in areal extent is 11%. Of the nine glaciers in disequilibrium J, Twins, Grasshopper, Minor, Heap Steep, Mammoth and Lower Fremont Glacier exhibit significant new bedrock exposure within the accumulation zone. Marginal retreat in the accumulation zone is evident on Baby, J, Twins, Grasshopper, Minor, Heap Steep, Helen and Lower Fremont Glacier. Knife Point Glacier has lost 31 % of its area since 1966, but all the change is in the terminus area of the glacier, 280 m of retreat, and one small tributary chute on its northern margin. Grasshopper Glacier has experienced 640 m of retreat and 27% reduction in areal extent, with most of the reduction in the accumulation zone. These examples indicate the difficulty in using only terminus change or areal extent change in determining equilibrium response. Read more