Shoshone National Forest is the first federally protected National Forest in the United States and covers nearly 2,500,000 acres (1,000,000 ha) in the state of Wyoming. Originally a part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, the forest is managed by the United States Forest Service and was created by an act of Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison in 1891. Shoshone National Forest is one of the first nationally protected land areas anywhere. Native Americans have lived in the region for at least 10,000 years, and when the region was first explored by European adventurers, forestlands were occupied by several different tribes. Never heavily settled or exploited, the forest has retained most of its wildness. Shoshone National Forest is a part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a nearly unbroken expanse of federally protected lands encompassing an estimated 20,000,000 acres (8,100,000 ha).
Shoshone National Forest has virtually all the original animal and plant species that were there when white explorers such as John Colter and Jim Bridger first visited the region. The forest is home to the Grizzly bear, cougar, moose, tens of thousands of elk as well as the largest herd of bighorn sheep in the U.S. The streams in the forest are considered to have some of the best game species fishing opportunities in the U.S. including Yellowstone cutthroat trout. More than 1,300 miles of hiking trails, 32 campgrounds and adjacent forests and parklands provide numerous recreational opportunities. There are four wilderness areas within the forest, protecting more than half of the managed land area from development. From sagebrush plains through dense spruce and fir forest to craggy mountain peaks, Shoshone National Forest has a rich biodiversity rarely matched in any protected area.