What's Out There?
Throughout the last half of the 19th Century, most of the trees were taken from the Mount Rose area to feed the insatiable fuel demand railroads and mining, and timber needs of the Comstock. In the intervening 100+ years, the forests of the Wilderness have regrown into a lush and diverse replacement for the original cover. An attentive explorer can still find evidence of this 19th Century forest decimation from chopped tree stumps found in the highest reaches of the Mount Rose Bowl to the remnants of lumber camps, sometimes with rusting fragment of woodcutting tools hidden deep within the remote forests of the Wilderness.
Beaver, Snowshoe Hare, Gray Jay, Black Bear, Paintbrush Checkerspot, Striped Skunk, Common Raccoon, Hoary Bat, American Marten, Townsend's Solitaire, Pygmy Nuthatch, Orange-crowned Warbler, mountain lions, bobcats, coyote, and raptors. This northern end of the wilderness is home to the elusive Mountain Beaver, which is not even a close relative to the beaver. The Mountain beaver does not build dams, does not fell trees, and has a short tail. They rarely exceed 20 inches in length and tip the scales at two pounds. These animals do not need streams, but do prefer moist soils and can be found along the edges of isolated meadows far above flowing water. The mountain beaver is also known for a limited ability to climb trees seeking food, they live solitary lives in a network of connected burrows, and they exhibit coprophagy.
mountain hemlock, lodgepole pines, ponderosa pines and Washoe pines. The Mount Rose Wilderness stands at an ecological crossroads. The Wilderness supports five unique plant communities: sagebrush scrub dominates the lowest elevation, intermixed montane Forest and sagebrush characterizes the middle elevations, subalpine forest climb to the higher elevations, and above timberline, alpine plants claim the summit of Mount Rose. North of Interstate 80, the diversity of plant communities rapidly reduce with the decreasing elevations and the spectrum of plant communities found in the Mount Wilderness can rarely be found.