WWA - Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains, Wilderness Areas 8-24-11

Aug 24, 2011

EcoFlight flew with the Wyoming Wilderness Association (WWA) over areas of the Shoshone National Forest to capture video footage for an upcoming documentary they are producing on the region. The goal of the film is to give a wide range of people exposure to the Shoshone's outstanding wilderness values and the need for their permanent protection.

The Shoshone National Forest in northwest Wyoming offers world class hunting, fishing, tourism and recreational opportunities. The country's first national forest, the Shoshone borders Yellowstone National Park to the east and includes parts of the Wind River, Beartooth, and Absaroka mountain ranges. With more than half of the Shoshone designated as wilderness and roughly 30 percent of the forest additionally considered "roadless" this wild, largely undeveloped region provides critical habitat for fish and wildlife populations including grizzly bear, bighorn sheep and elk.

Our flight took us over the remote and beautiful DuNoir Valley at the southern end of the Absaroka Range. The DuNoir Valley is critical habitat for elk, antelope, moose, bighorn, deer, northern goshawk, wolverine, lynx, and grizzly bear. While the main DuNoir Valley is tentatively protected as the Dunoir Special Management Unit, the southeast side of the valley is unprotected wilderness.

The Wyoming Wilderness Association is involved in the Shoshone National Forest Management Plan revision process, currently underway, to draw attention to high-priority wild areas in need of permanent protection. Of thirty four Potential Wilderness Areas identified by the Forest Service, the Wyoming Wilderness Association has identified five priority areas that meet wilderness criteria, including the DuNoir.