Your Guide to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Bison grazing in Yellowstone National Park, part of the Greater Yellowstone EcosystemEncompassing areas of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest and last remaining intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth. This fascinating region embraces nearly 18 million acres in and around Yellowstone National Park and is home to some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes as well as an incredible array of plant and wildlife species. Now a world-renowned recreational destination, a trip from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone is a must when you stay at the Bentwood Inn! Here are some things you should know about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

3 Facts About the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

1. Yellowstone is a protected wildlife sanctuary.

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is home to over 300 animal species including 60 types of mammals, 225 bird species, and 18 different types of fish. The area also features one of the largest elk herds in North America as well as the largest herd of wild, free-roaming bison. Visitors to Yellowstone have reported sightings of endangered grizzly and black bear, moose, Bighorn sheep, wolves, bald eagles, and even rare trumpeter swans. From large mammals to microscopic organisms, each species plays a vital role in the park’s ecosystem and creates a fascinating food web of producers and consumers.

2. Yellowstone is one of the most geologically unique areas on the planet.

Featuring the world’s greatest concentration of geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and steam vents, Yellowstone has over 10,000 incredible geothermal features that are unlike anything you’ve seen before. This system is the visible expression of the immense Yellowstone volcano, which is now collapsed due to an eruption that occurred about 1.2 million years ago. The park’s thermal features would not exist without the underlying partially molten magma body that releases tremendous heat, rising water temperatures upwards of 400°F. In addition to its famous hydrothermal features, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is comprised of dense forests, vast lakes, sprawling meadows, and lush vegetation.

3. Yellowstone is facing many management challenges.

Yellowstone is known as the birthplace of conservation, but climate change, invasive species, and development pressures are just a few of the factors affecting the region’s ecosystem. Scientists continue to monitor the area and are developing models to help predict how the region might respond to changing conditions. In addition, Yellowstone National Park managers, as well as organizations like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, are helping to conserve resources and protect lands, waters, and wildlife by teaching employees and visitors about how to implement sustainable tourism practices.

Come Home to the Bentwood Inn

Before you start planning your trip, be sure to check out a Yellowstone area map, then book your stay at our Jackson Hole bed and breakfast! Just a 65-mile drive from the south entrance of Yellowstone, our inn is also located near Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge and offers comfortable rooms and suites that await your return. Surrounded by spectacular views, incredible wildlife, and a variety of thrilling attractions, our inn an ideal ultimate homestead in the heart of the Wild West. We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

For more information and tips for planning your next Yellowstone vacation,
request a copy of our free Jackson Hole vacation guide.

Photo Credit: Bartus Hendrikse | Thinkstock