Wyoming’s Big Game Migrations 50 Years after the Creation of the Wilderness Areas
“Pitchstone Waters is just west of the Winegar Hole and Jedidiah Smith Wilderness Areas shown in this video. At this time, elk are migrating out of the Parks through us as an early winter drops snow and temperatures in Greater Yellowstone. We have observed herds of as many as 100-elk moving through, headed to the deserts to the west.
NOTE: this article was originally published to MigrationInitiative.org
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
To commemorate this act, WMI researchers examined how wilderness areas are used by Wyoming’s migratory ungulates. Typically, wilderness areas are located in the high elevation summer ranges of Wyoming’s migratory ungulates. These areas provide bountiful forage from summer through fall, affording animals with enough food to sustain them through the lean winters. This work shows the importance of wilderness areas for ungulates whose migrations often span multiple-use landscapes. While wilderness alone is not sufficient to conserve entire migratory routes, it is an important piece of conserving the long distance migrations of Wyoming’s ungulates.