The critically important low elevation private lands of the Henry’s Lake area are comprised primarily of summer range ranches for cattle and recreational home sites. Encircled by the Continental Divide and contiguous to Yellowstone National Park, the area is extremely valuable for its wetland and aquatic resources and as a keystone landscape connecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with the Central Idaho Wilderness and the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem important for movement of large carnivores. These lands are typically characterized by the shoreline wetlands of Henry’s Lake, spring creek and freestone creek areas, sage steppe uplands, and conifer/ aspen mixed forest.
The Shotgun Valley area is located on the south slope of the Centennial Range and is bounded by the Continental Divide on the north and Island Park reservoir and Thurman Ridge on the south. The private lands in the valley floor consist of sage steppe, low elevation aspen, mixed conifer, and riparian wetland communities. The valley provides a critical migratory corridor for elk that winter in the lower Henry’s Fork and St. Anthony sands dunes to the south. Additionally, aspen restoration projects are ongoing in this valley and the current undeveloped condition of much of this valley allows for landscape scale restoration treatments.