Teton Wilderness

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Teton Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Map showing the location of Teton Wilderness
Map showing the location of Teton Wilderness
Location Teton / Park / Fremont counties, Wyoming, USA
Nearest city Jackson, WY
Coordinates 44°4′0″N 109°56′0″W / 44.06667°N 109.93333°W / 44.06667; -109.93333Coordinates: 44°4′0″N 109°56′0″W / 44.06667°N 109.93333°W / 44.06667; -109.93333
Area 585,238 acres (2,370 km2)
Established 1964
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

Teton Wilderness is located in Wyoming, United States. Created in 1964, the Teton Wilderness is located within Bridger-Teton National Forest and consists of 585,238 acres (2,370 km2). The wilderness is bordered on the north by Yellowstone National Park and to the west by Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. The Washakie Wilderness is to the east and the remainder of Bridger-Teton National Forest is to the south. The Teton Wilderness is a part of the 20 million acre (81,000 km2) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Among many other features, Teton Wilderness is notable for having the most remote location (farthest from any road) of any place in the lower 48 states of the USA. This location occurs very close to Bridger Lake, near the confluence of the Thorofare and Yellowstone Rivers, not far from the USFS Hawk's Rest Ranger Station.

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.

With the Continental Divide running through the wilderness, altitudes tend to be lofty with Younts Peak (12,165 ft./3708 m) being the highest point.

One of the most interesting hydrological features in North America occurs at the Continental Divide at Two Ocean Pass within the Teton Wilderness. This wide, gentle, marshy pass separates the headwaters of Pacific Creek, which flows Westerly to the Pacific Ocean via the Snake and Columbia Rivers, and Atlantic Creek, which flows Easterly to the Atlantic Ocean via the Yellowstone, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. At Two Ocean Pass, exactly on the Continental Divide, North Two Ocean Creek flows down from its drainage on the side of Two Ocean Plateau and divides its waters between Pacific Creek and Atlantic Creek. This spot is known as Parting of the Waters, and occurs at 44° 02.576'N, 110° 10.497'W. At this exact spot, water actually covers the Continental Divide such that a fish could safely swim from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean drainages.

The Teton Wilderness has 450 miles (725 km) of hiking trails, all of which pass through prime grizzly bear habitat. Black bear, wolverine, mountain lion, moose, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, bison, bighorn sheep and the elusive wolf are all found here. At least 75 other mammal species exist in the wilderness including beaver, coyote, bobcat, mink, porcupine, otter, marmot and pika. Both Bald and Golden eagles as well as falcons, owls, osprey, sandhill crane and geese are just a few of the 300 different species of birds in the wilderness. 30 different species of fish are known to exist as well including several varieties of cutthroat trout. The forest has hundreds of species of trees and plant life such as lodgepole pine, whitebark pine and varieties of spruce and fir. Sagebrush and willows are found in the open fields and along streams. This wilderness is infrequently visited in some areas, borders on the most remote section of Yellowstone National Park and has only a few limited access points along the southern and western border.

Weather can be a factor in the wilderness with infrequent but severe thunderstorms in the spring and early summer. In 1987, a very rare high altitude tornado, called the Teton–Yellowstone tornado, destroyed an area of 20 miles (32 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide. The following year, almost half the forested sections of the wilderness were greatly impacted by the Yellowstone fires of 1988. These fires enhanced the wilderness ecosystem by reducing the amount of dead and down wood, helping lodgepole pine cones to germinate and improving grazing opportunities for such animals as elk and mule deer.

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