About the Forest


What are the national forests?

 picture looking from Hwy 14a

National Forests are our national treasures. The Forest Service works to keep them in their most natural and beautiful state through careful management.

Photo by Rob Yingling



The National Forests are truly America’s Great Outdoors! Your 155 national forests encompass 191 million acres (77.3 million hectares) of federal public land, an area larger than the State of Texas, and stretch from Alaska to Puerto Rico. They offer outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Wherever you are in America, you're probably no more than a day's drive from a National Forest, where you can hike, fish, camp, ski, or just sit back and enjoy the Forest surroundings. Over 100,000 miles of trails and 10,000 recreation sites await you nationwide.

With more and more people living in urban areas, National Forests are becoming more important and valuable to Americans. People enjoy a wide variety of activities on National Forests, including backpacking in remote, unroaded wilderness areas, mastering an all-terrain vehicle over a challenging trail, enjoying the views along a scenic byway, or fishing in a great trout stream, to mention just a few.


bighorn nf portal signWhere does the Bighorn National Forest fit in?

The National Forest System consists of nine regions. The regions are subdivided into National Forests, which are in turn subdivided into ranger districts.

The Bighorn National Forest is located in the Rocky Mountain Region, also referred to as Region 2. This region includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Eastern Wyoming. It includes 11 National Forests and Grasslands. The regional headquarters is in Lakewood, Colorado.


What is the Forest Service?

The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service is the Federal agency that manages National Forests and National Grasslands. The Forest Service was established by Congress in 1905 to provide quality water and timber for the Nation's benefit. Over the years, the public has expanded the list of what they want from National Forests and Grasslands. Congress responded by directing the Forest Service to manage National Forests for additional multiple uses and benefits and for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation. Multiple use means managing resources under the best combination of uses to benefit the American people while conserving the productivity of the land and protecting the quality of the environment.

The mission of the Forest Service is best summarized by its watchphrase, "Caring for the Land and Serving People."


How to get involved!

The Forest Service invites the American public, as owners of the National Forest System lands, to participate in a wide range of agency-sponsored activities, projects and programs.

Your involvement can take many forms -- as a volunteer, perhaps, or as a partner. If your club or organization is looking for a worthwhile project to sponsor, ask for a list of activities at your local ranger station or National Forest headquarters.

If you are interested in management of the National Forests, we encourage your participation and comments in the long-range planning process or in planning specific resource management projects. The agency prepares many documents, such as Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Environmental Assessments (EA) to evaluate proposed projects and make sound decisions. You are invited to review these documents and contribute your concerns and recommendations either in writing or at public meetings.

The Forest Service welcomes your interest and involvement in its programs. We look forward to hearing from you!