Bridger Wilderness

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Bridger Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Slide Lake Bridger Wilderness.jpg
Map showing the location of Bridger Wilderness
Map showing the location of Bridger Wilderness
Location Sublette / Fremont counties, Wyoming, USA
Nearest city Pinedale, WY
Coordinates 43°10′19″N 109°40′27″W / 43.17194°N 109.67417°W / 43.17194; -109.67417Coordinates: 43°10′19″N 109°40′27″W / 43.17194°N 109.67417°W / 43.17194; -109.67417
Area 428,169 acres
(1,732 km²)
Established 1964
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Bridger Wilderness is located in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, United States. Originally established in 1931 as a primitive area, the 428,169 acre (1,732 km²) region was redesignated as a wilderness in 1964 and expanded to the current size in 1984. The wilderness lies on the west side of the Continental Divide in the Wind River Range and contains Gannett Peak at 13,804 ft (4,209 m) the tallest mountain in Wyoming. The wilderness is a part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

U.S. Wilderness Areas do not allow motorized or mechanized vehicles, including bicycles. Although camping and fishing are allowed with proper permit, no roads or buildings are constructed and there is also no logging or mining, in compliance with the 1964 Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas within National Forests and Bureau of Land Management areas also allow hunting in season.

There are 600 miles (965 km) of hiking trails maintained in the wilderness, but with much of the terrain being steep and with many large mountain peaks to climb, many trails provide access climbing routes. Camping is permitted as long as a distance of at least 200 feet (60 m) minimum is maintained away from lakes and streams. Due to the high altitude associated with this wilderness, it is not uncommon to have freezing weather especially at night anytime of the year. In the summer months mosquitos can also be a problem.

The largest glaciers in Bridger-Teton National Forest are found in the wilderness. While lower slopes of the mountainsides are dominated by aspen and lodgepole pine, the upper altitudes include lodgepole pine, and numerous species of spruce and fir. Above the timberline at 10,300 feet (3,100 m), the plants are delicate and subject to high human impact and care must be used to stay on trails to minimize natural resource impact which can take decades or more for recovery. Infrequent and rare sightings of grizzly bears have been recorded but black bears are much more common. In addition, most of the megafauna originally indigenous to the region still exist in the wilderness including moose, elk, mule deer, wolverine, bighorn sheep, and mountain lion. There have been unconfirmed reports of wolf sightings which may be true due to wolf reintroduction commenced in the late 20th century in Yellowstone National Park to the north. Numerous bird species are found including bald eagle, osprey, peregrine falcon and Clark's nutcracker. The streams have long been home to several species of trout, but stocking of the lakes has increased their numbers there along with mountain whitefish and grayling.

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