Right now, the fate of the Shoshone National Forest and its grizzly bears hangs in the balance. Oil and gas drilling and motorized trails threaten to ruin our nation's first national forest, located right on the eastern border of Yellowstone National Park.
The good news is we can protect this spectacular place, which is some of the best grizzly bear habitat in the entire Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
The U.S. Forest Service has developed a draft management plan for the Shoshone, which will determine the future of the forest for decades to come by defining where oil and gas drilling will be allowed, if more motorized trails will be developed, and whether any additional areas will be recommended for wilderness protection.
Roads and motorized trails destroy important habitat for grizzly bears and are a key factor in grizzly deaths each year in Greater Yellowstone. Additional roads and motorized trails will also diminish the natural beauty that makes the Shoshone so spectacular and that so many come to the forest to experience.
Grizzly bears need hundreds of square miles to survive -- to find food, mates and dens where they can raise their cubs before emerging each spring. For now, the Shoshone provides them with a home, but if these wildlands are carved up by more motorized trails or oil and gas drilling, the long-term survival of the Yellowstone grizzly bear could be in serious jeopardy.
This majestic country also provides some of the most inspiring and challenging recreational opportunities in the world, including backcountry hiking and camping, skiing, fishing and much more, all of which benefit the local economy.