The Bridger and Teton national forests merged administratively and became one national forest on July 1, 1973, bringing nearly 3.5 million acres and the present six ranger districts under one supervisory headquarters, located in Jackson.
The Teton Division of the forest encompasses three sides of famed Jackson Hole and borders on both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The national forest was originally established on July 1, 1908. It contains 1,694,574 acres of mountainous terrain and its geographical location near the Continental Divide makes it an important water yield area.
The timber of this national forest contributes materially to the aesthetics of this country. Aspen, Englemann Spruce, Douglas Fir, Alpine Fir, Whitebark, Limber Pine and Lodgepole Pine provide a pleasing backdrop for the photographer, protection to vital watersheds, shade for campgrounds and homes for large and small animals and birds. The wildlife of the forest is an attraction for Teton Division visitors during every season of the year. Even Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep may be seen in the early morning and late evening along the Gros Ventre River and Red Hills, along the lower end of Crystal Creek and in the vicinity of Stinking Springs in Hoback Canyon.
The Bridger Division of the forest, established by executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt on June 13, 1911, was named for Jim Bridger, the famous mountain man, explorer, and partner with Jedediah Smith, David Jackson and William Sublette in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. It contains 1,744,702 acres and consists of two divisions: the Bridger Division, containing the Wind River Mountains and the Bridger Wilderness, and the Wyoming Division, containing the Wyoming and Salt River ranges and the entire watershed for Greys River.
Giant hulks of mountains, including Gannett Peak (13,804 feet), in the Bridger Wilderness, were scoured by ancient glaciers, which formed alpine meadows and lakes in this scenic land. Bridger Division boasts more lakes than any forest in the Intermountain Region. The Bridger also contains 804 miles of trout streams providing the angler with Rainbow, Native Cutthroat, Golden, Brook, German Brown and Mackinaw trout.
The Bridger Division is home to a variety of wildlife: 219 species of birds, 80 varieties of mammals, 26 kinds of fish, nine varieties of reptiles (but no rattlesnakes) and five types of amphibians inhabit the forest and immediate surroundings.