You are here

Story maps

Story maps offer interactive, visual explorations of United States Forest Service research, research facilities, and experimental forests and ranges. Each map tells the story of the research that goes into understanding our nation’s natural and cultural resources. Below are listed story maps from the Rocky Mountain Research Station. Click a story map title to open the full screen version.

A researcher samples water from a river using a plastic cup connected to a tube that leads through a small machine and empties into a water bottle.

Aquatic eDNAtlas Project: Lab results map

The Aquatic eDNAtlas Project uses the open-access eDNAtlas database from the USFS National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation (NGC) to provide spatial information on aquatic species across the United States. The database is populated by samples collected through standardized field sampling protocol implemented by numerous natural resource agencies and non-governmental organizations partnered with NGC. This interactive map showcases results from the Aquatic eDNAtlas Project. Selecting sample areas across the country will show the presence or absence of aquatic species like bull trout, chinook salmon, and boreal toad sampled for in that area.

Three researchers stand in a stream in a forest during a bull trout habitat survey. A fourth researcher climbs up a slope beside the stream.

Aquatic eDNAtlas Project: eDNA field sampling grid

The Aquatic eDNAtlas Project uses the open-access eDNAtlas database from the USFS National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation (NGC) to provide spatial information on aquatic species across the United States. The database is populated by samples collected through standardized field sampling protocol implemented by numerous natural resource agencies and non-governmental organizations partnered with NGC. This map provides a visual display showing areas where samples have already been taken for the Aquatic eDNAtlas Project.

The National Forest sign reads \"Black Hills Experimental Forest\". Pine trees are visible in the background.

Black Hills Experimental Forest virtual tour

The Black Hills Experimental Forest virtual tour is a 10-stop exploration of the Black Hills Experimental Forest that anybody can take from the comfort of their own home. This interactive story map highlights decades of ponderosa pine forest management research in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Topics range from an introduction to the Black Hills Experimental Forest, even-aged and uneven-aged management, forest health, slash pile, and other topics of forest management concern.

Boots on the ground

An upcoming story map from the Fire Lab.

The photo shows a tree-covered hill with a rock formation at the top from the Sky Islands of Arizona.

Forests of Arizona, 2015

Forest inventory data collected between 2006 and 2015 provided key insights on Arizona’s forests, which cover about one quarter of the state’s land area. These unique ecosystems are valued for their scenic beauty, forest products, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem services. The forests of Arizona interactive story map provides an overview of nearly a decade of Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data.

Longs Peak stands against a blue sky, a green landscape of forested land in the foreground.

Forests of Colorado, 2015

Colorado’s forests are prized for their natural beauty, and cover about one-third of the state’s land area. They are also important resources for forest products, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem services. Managing these essential resources requires extensive knowledge about Colorado’s forests. This interactive story map provides an overview of Forest Inventory and Analysis data collected between 2006 and 2015 that provides key insights into these irreplaceable resources.

A healthy looking aspen grove fills the photo.

Forests of Idaho, 2015

Forested land in Idaho is a valuable source of forest products, wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, and ecosystem services. These unique ecosystems make up about 39 percent of the State’s land area. This interactive story map provides an overview of Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data for Idaho’s forests collected between 2006 and 2015.

A pair of male elk stand alert in green grass.

Forests of Montana, 2015

Nearly 28 percent of Montana’s land area is covered in forests, valuable sources of forest products, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem services. These natural resources are also valued for their aesthetic beauty. This story map offers an interactive overview of Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data from 2006 to 2015.

A landscape shot showing limber pine in the Spruce Mountains.

Forests of Nevada, 2015

Nevada’s forests are valued resources that provide the state with forest products, wildlife habitat, ecosystem services, and abundant scenic beauty. Forested land makes up about 16 percent of Nevada’s total land area. This interactive story map provides an overview of Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data collected between 2006 and 2015, giving insights into these important natural resources.

A Mexican spotted owl sits on a branch.

Forests of New Mexico, 2015

Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data provides insights in conserving these natural resources. New Mexico’s forests cover about one-third of its land area, and provide the state with scenic beauty, forest products, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem services. This story map offers an interactive overview of New Mexico FIA data collected between 2006 and 2015.

A landscape shot from Moab shows a red river winding lazily around red plateaus.

Forests of Utah, 2015

Utah’s beautiful forests are valuable resources for aesthetic beauty, forest products, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem resources. Conserving these natural resources requires current and historical data to provide insights into best practices for managing these unique ecosystems. This interactive story map offers an overview of Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data collected between 2006 and 2015.

A bird of prey lands on a dead tree.

Forests of Wyoming, 2015

Approximately 17 percent of Wyoming’s land area is covered by forests. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data collected between 2006 and 2015 provides a summary of the unique characteristics of these valuable resources. This story map provides an interactive overview of Wyoming’s FIA data.

International Collaboration

An upcoming story map from the Fire Lab.

A fire whirl forms in a machine at the fire science lab.

Missoula Fire Sciences Lab facility tour

The Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana is the home base of the Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program (FFS). The program studies multiple dimensions of fire and fuels, including understanding fire behavior, ecological adaptation to fire, and examining immediate and longer-term fire effects. They use their research to develop management applications and tools designed to improve understanding of wildland fire and increase fire, fuel, and smoke management practices. This story map offers a visual tour fire research in action using the numerous resources at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, including a wind tunnel, combustion chamber and emissions lab, and fire whirl generator.

A stream winds through a pine forest. A green-painted dam is visible in the distance.

NorWeST stream temperature interactive map

Stream temperature changes have serious ramifications for aquatic species that are highly sensitive to these shifts. Conserving these vulnerable species requires vigilant land management and accurate modeling information. These interactive scenario maps provide accurate, unbiased stream temperature models and predictions.

Someone off camera holds a bull trout just above water. The trout has a temporary tag attached under its dorsal fin.

Range-wide bull trout eDNA Project map

Detecting the presence of aquatic species can be an involved and costly process. Recent technology and sampling protocols developed by the USFS National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation have greatly improved the efficiency of assessing species presence by developing the first reliable eDNA assays for a variety of fish. As aquatic species move through the water, they shed DNA material that disperses through the water column and becomes environmental DNA (eDNA). eDNA sampling is a more efficient and sensitive method of species detection. The Range-wide bull trout eDNA project map shows eDNA field collection sites, offering a visual display of areas where the bull trout is present or absent.

White pine blister rust is an invasive fungus that infects and kills high elevation five-needle pines.

Researching whitebark pine

Researchers at the Rocky Mountain Research Station are working on a number of projects related to whitebark pine conservation and restoration. These five needle pines have experienced an alarming species decline in the last few decades due to factors like the mountain pine beetle, white pine blister rust, and fire-exclusion policies. This story map offers an interactive exploration of recent whitebark pine studies.

A forest fire burns behind cabins along Lost Lake.

USFS cross boundary wildfire management explorer

Wildfires on national forests put communities located around these public lands at risk. Ongoing research from the USFS and its collaborators and partners identifies the geography of community wildfire exposure from national forests, described in this story map. These map sets provide visual displays showing at-risk communities bordering on national forests, as well other risk information such as canopy cover, fuel models, and community exposure archetypes.

A whitebark pine forest stands on a sloping landscape.

Vital signs of a species in decline: Mortality and regeneration of whitebark pine

Recent high mortality rates of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) from factors such as heat, drought, white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle, and fire-exclusion have put high-elevation ecosystems at risk. These trees are important cornerstones in their ecosystems, providing food and habitat to wildlife species and helping to retain snowpack that communities down the mountain depend on. This story map provides visuals exploring whitebark pine mortality rates, seedling data, and management implications. 

A forest fire burns through a pine forest.

WindNinja

Wind conditions are one of the most important environmental factors that affect wildland fire behavior. Wind can rapidly change how a fire is burning or what direction it is moving in. These changes make fire management complicated, and can endanger fire crews on the ground. In order to improve fire management and protect emergency responders, the USFS Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program developed the Wind Ninja system. Wind Ninja is a diagnostic wind modeling computer program for wildland fire modeling. This story map offers more detail on wind Ninja, including showing visuals of how the system works and how it can be used in the field.