Susan Marsh served as recreation staff officer in the Bridger-Teton National Forest supervisor’s office from 1988 until her retirement in 2010. In her earliest years working on the BTNF, Susan was involved with something that had a purpose similar to that of Friends of the Bridger-Teton’s today: “It wasn’t so much an organization as a method for raising money to do things that the forest didn’t have the funds to do,” she says. “It lasted a couple of years and then petered out. But I thought it was such a good idea.” When Friends of the Bridger-Teton was founded in 2018, Susan was excited to join the board.
“I’m all for doing everything that can enhance the resource,” she says. “With the recent increase in impacts from recreation, I want to spread the message that this is a finite resource and people’s behavior makes a big difference.”
A writer and artist, Susan has published a novel, ten non-fiction books, and a book of poetry. Several of her books are focused on the BTNF. These include Cache Creek: Jackson Hole’s Backyard Wilderness; the hiking guidebooks Targhee Trails and Beyond the Tetons, which she co-wrote with Rebecca Bloom; The Wild Wyoming Range, which she co-edited with Ronald Chilcote; and Saving Wyoming’s Hoback, co-written with Florence Shepard. She also writes a column for the online Mountain Journal.
Until about a decade ago Susan wasn’t often in the Cache Creek area in the summer. “I was always way out in the backcountry,” she says. But when her backcountry excursions were temporarily limited, she began visiting Cache Creek, hiking its trails with a notebook in hand. “I started taking note of when I saw wildflowers come out for the first time,” she says. Susan ended up with notes on 300-plus species of flowering plants. The idea for her Cache Creek book evolved from this. “So many people go up to Cache Creek for a quick bike ride or run. I wondered how many things people passed by that they didn’t notice because they were involved with their activity,” Susan says. “Cache Creek really is a special place. While walking down the main road with a visiting friend, she said to me, ‘if this was anywhere but Jackson, it would be a national park.’”
5 Things in Susan’s daypack:
1. Water and food
2. Bear spray
3. Extra clothing—usually something like a wool sweater or a fleece, a windproof jacket, hat, and gloves.
4. A camera and notebook
5. Mutt mitts. “Even if I don’t have my own dog along, there is plenty to pick up,” she says.