Discover the GYE

Discover the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is one of the last remaining nearly-intact temperate zone ecosystems on the planet.

Encompassing 22.5 million acres, the GYE expands outward from breathtaking Yellowstone National Park and charismatic Grand Teton National Park.

Iconic Wildlife and Keystone Species

With over 380 species of native birds, fish, and mammals, the GYE’s fauna residents also include iconic large mammals such as American bison, grizzly bears, elk, and moose. Here, flora and fauna are interwoven into a dynamic fabric of original species present before the arrival of Europeans on the continent. These wide-open spaces and undeveloped migratory corridors provide vital landscapes for keystone species to still have the ability to travel their ancient pathways, akin in many ways to the massive migration synonymous with the Serengeti ecosystem in Africa.

A Patchwork of Protections

As the largest ecosystem in North America (ten times the size of Yellowstone Park itself), the borders of the GYE go far beyond the park’s boundaries, which were originally established in 1872 to protect the land from development and to provide enjoyment of US citizens. This ecosystem includes millions of other acres of national forest and public land, as well as land held in private ownership. 

Generations of Conservation Efforts

The ecosystem has survived thus far because over time committed people have remained vigilantly aware of the growing knowledge of ecosystems and their health, including its wildlife, and have worked to conserve its environmental qualities and wild inhabitants. Multiple generations of naturalists, scientists, policymakers, land managers, artists, and ordinary citizens alike have stepped up, recognized our shared impact and missteps, and actively engaged to rebalance and mend our heavy impact on the ecosystem.

Determining the GYE’s Future

The concentration and range of large wildlife make the GYE the most iconic complex of public lands in America. Yet, sustaining such a vast ecosystem in an era when human beings dominate the earth is almost unimaginable, and nearly impossible to attain. The longevity and vitality of the GYE can only be protected by evolving our understanding, support, and care of this and other vibrant ecosystems.

Spreading awareness and taking action

Keeping the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem healthy and whole will require unprecedented practices of stewardship by all of us and comprehensive management by public and private entities. As intense interest in the GYE and other wild places is occurring, a key consideration of conservation stewardship involves re-examining our perceived right and need to use and recreate in high numbers in these habitats that are home to wild creatures.

WILDLIFES is a revisioning of how art can inspire action, action that comes from people just like you.

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