Science & Research

Research Opportunities at Spear-O-Wigwam

There are plenty of graduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral research opportunities near Spear-O-Wigwam. The Bighorn Mountains lie on the western border of the expansive prairie grasslands of the Midwest. There are unique flora and fauna in this understudied area. Research possibilities include pine beetle tracking, geological mapping, lodgepole pine encroachment, amphibian diversity, glacial studies, and the alpine life zone near the resort and at the high elevation Beaver Lakes Field Station.

Worthy of Study

The Bighorn Mountains are an exceptional environment for scientific study. The mountains offer wilderness and geographically-isolated populations.  The Bighorn Mountains are an isolated range of the Southern Rocky Mountains and are situated between the arid Bighorn Basin to the west and the Great Plains to the east. The Bighorns have diverse and unique ecological systems, including fens, kettle ponds, meadows, alpine tundra, and high elevation lakes. Lodgepole pine and sub-alpine fir dominate the local forest, with opportunities to study fire ecology and the dynamics of old growth stands. Between patches of forest are vast meadows filled with a striking diversity of wildflowers. Opportunities abound to study the effects of grazing and human recreational activity on these ecosystems. The area surrounding Spear-O-Wigwam supports populations of pika, red squirrel, yellow-bellied marmot, moose, black bear, elk, and a variety of amphibian and bird species. Even with these attributes, the ecology of the Bighorns remains understudied.  Although the region, including the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area, is open to public access, there are many areas that never or very seldom have a human visitor. This makes the area a pristine research locale. Researchers from around the nation are invited to establish research activities, whether it involves natural history, ecological diversity, climate change, human impacts on montain environments, or other areas of interest.

Remote Field Station

The Beaver Lakes Field Station is an important part of the Forest Service permit. It is a remote location close to the surrounding Cloud Peak Wilderness Area and the associated high alpine areas. The camp includes tent-cabins for sleeping and a central cook tent-cabin. A shower house is available. There is no electricity or cell phone service. Access to Beaver Lakes Field Station from Spear-O is by horseback or by foot, either through the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area (approximately 15 miles), or by road/trails that bypass the wilderness. There is also motorized small vehicle access to within one and a half miles of the camp. See maps on the Location/Direction page.

We encourage ideas and possibilities regarding scientific research based at the main Spear-O-Wigwam Resort or the Beaver Lakes Field Station.  To inquire further, please email