Greater Yellowstone

President Theodore Roosevelt called Yellowstone “the best looking country on earth.” It is much more than a pretty place – it is a natural wonder. Yellowstone holds the world's greatest concentrations of geysers and thermal activity. The headwaters of all three of the nation's largest watersheds—the Columbia, the Colorado and the Mississippi—begin here. It's the world's first park and the first international biosphere reserve. Each year millions of people from all over the world come here for enjoyment, inspiration and to experience a place where the land and wildlife remain in a natural setting. 

Yellowstone is often called a land of superlatives. The Greater Yellowstone represents:

•  An irreplaceable collection of habitats that supports the largest concentration of wildlife species.

• The location of the five longest remaining long-distance mammal migrations– one of the Earth’s most stunning and imperiled biological phenomena–in the lower 48 United States.

•  Habitat for large concentrations of elk, mule deer, bighorn mountain sheep, bison, and pronghorn, and the southern anchor of a larger system for wide-ranging carnivores that are critical to the natural balance: wolves, grizzly bears, coyotes mountain lions, wolverine, lynx, and fox.

•  The site of the discovery of the world’s oldest living organisms–single cell species living in the hot springs that are so unique that scientists assigned these species    their own kingdom.

•  Home to 109 other species or communities considered to be imperiled globally, including critical habitat for the world’s largest swan, the trumpeter swan.

•  Some of the best remaining waters for native cutthroat trout, restricted by habitat loss and competition from introduced species to 15% of its original range.

•  Numerous endangered or threatened species including grizzly bear, wolf, trumpeter swan, boreal owl, black-footed ferret, peregrine falcon, and the bald eagle.

Other Fast Facts
•  Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the United States.

•  Upper Snake River Valley has one of the largest complex of wetlands in the Northern Rockies.

•  From 1970 to 2000, the area’s population grew 61%, compared to 38% nationally.

•  More than 2 million acres have been subdivided into plots of 200 acres or less in the 20 counties that encompass the Greater Yellowstone.

Greater Yellowstone Ownership By Category    Acres  
Private                                                                8,303,216
U.S. Forest Service                                            11,476,000
National Parks                                                     2,554,000
U.S. Bureau Land Management                             2,774,702
Indian Reservation                                                1,211,035
State Lands                                                         1,175,688
Other Public Protected (state parks)                         283,743
Fish and Wildlife Service                                           69,700 
Other Public Lands                                                   22,061 
                                                         Total       27,870,145


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