Ecoregions Level III

We’re breaking it down now for Level III to just the Continental United States. The entire continent gets too complicated when the finer points start to emerge within the broader regions.

Here is a link to the PDF Map: Level III MAP

I’m really enjoying these maps! Let’s look at the Level III regions that the Great Plains Trail traverses in numerical order:

#17 The Middle Rockies – The Black Hills are a part of this ecoregion.

#23 Arizona/New Mexico Mountains – Guadalupe Mountains National Park fits this ecoregion.

#24 Chihuahuan Deserts – Extreme southern New Mexico is in this region.

#25 High Plains – That seems fitting. This area exists in parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

#26 Southwestern Tablelands – The GPT crosses this region in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

#42 Northwestern Glaciated Plains – These can be found in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.

#43 Northwestern Great Plains – The home states here are North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and a little bit in Nebraska.

#46 Northern Glaciated Plains – If the GPT ends in North Dakota instead of Montana, the GPT will also cross this ecoregion, which exists in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

That’s as many as eight Level III ecoregions highlighting the enormous diversity of the Great Plains!

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GPT -Photo of the Week

Eastern Colorado – on the GPT

One of the many ruins found all throughout the Great Plains. I try not to celebrate these ruins because they represent someone’s misfortune, but they are beautiful and fascinating in many ways.

Oh the stories they could tell . . .

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Ecoregions Level II

I think we’re ready for the next level in ecoregions.  In this case, it’s level II.

Here is a link to the PDF map. It’s still a little hard to read online, but we’ve clearly left the elementary version of ecoregions and are starting to get into a little more detail.

The GPT passes through at least five ecoregions at this level including, from south to north) Upper Gila Mountains, Warm Deserts, South-Central Semi Arid Prairies, West-Central Semi Arid Prairies, Western Cordillera, and if it ends in North Dakota, it would pass through the Temperate Prairies as well.


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GPT – Photo of the Week

The Wildcat Hills are south of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. There bluffs, canyons and open prairies with many places to explore.

The Wildcat Hills

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EPA Ecoregions – Level I

I’m no expert on ecoregions, but I ran across some cool maps put out by the EPA that define the continent by various ecoregions. Like I said, I’m no expert, so we can learn about them together. It looks like they’re classified into a few levels with each level getting more specific as it goes. Level I is the big picture with just 15 ecoregions for the entire continent. This is, of course, overly simplistic, but it serves as a good starting point.

The Great Plains Trail passes through four of these regions, but mostly stays in (big surprise) the Great Plains ecoregion. The other three it touches are the Northwestern Forested Mountains of which the Black Hills are a part, as well as the North American Deserts, and the Temperate Sierras in southern New Mexico and in the Guadalupe Mountains of western Texas respectively.

The above picture is probably useless.  Here is a link to the PDF of the map:  EPA Ecoregions Map

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Donate to GPTA in 2017

Just a few hours left to donate to GPTA and have it count for your 2017 taxes!!

1. Join our Founder’s Club: We are launching our first fundraising drive.  While we have accomplished much in our first five years, there is much more to be done.  Significant trail building projects and events await, but we need your help.  By donating $1,000 or more, you will become a member of our Founder’s Club.  This is a unique opportunity to be a part of the history of the organization.  You will receive a lifetime membership, you will have a mile of trail named in your honor ($2,000 would earn two miles of named trail, and so on), your name will be on a permanent monument (TBD) along the trail, and you’ll also receive a GPT Daypack, a GPT Hat, and a GPT Mug.  Please contact us if you need more information on this once in a lifetime opportunity.

2. Make a Donation: If you can’t quite swing joining the Founders’ Club, we still need your support.  Any amount you can give will be greatly appreciated, but we do have some special categories to consider.

$500-$999 Pronghorn Level – GPT Daypack, GPT Hat, and GPT Mug

$250-$499 Swift Fox Level – GPT Hat and GPT Mug

$100-$249 Black Footed Ferret Level – GPT Hat OR GPT Mug

$50-$99 Burrowing Owl Level – GPT Sticker

$5-$49 Valued Donor – Tax deductible

To make a donation, click the “Donate” button on the home page of the website.  We are a non-profit 501c3 organization and your donation is tax deductible. Note:  If you don’t want PayPal to take a cut, you can send us a check directly to Great Plains Trail Alliance 313 Sherman Street, Longmont, CO 80501

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GPT Photo of the Week

It’s cold out there. How about a nice hot desert pic from the trail? Here’s Sitting Bull Falls in southern New Mexico in Lincoln National Forest.


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