Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Announcing Launch of New Hiking Website

Today we’re proud to announce the official launch of our brand new hiking website for Grand Teton National Park. The new site provides details on more than 40 hikes in the Grand Tetons, and is organized similarly to our HikingintheSmokys.com, HikinginGlacier.com and RockyMountainHikingTrails.com websites. The URL for our new site is:

In addition to being a great source for trail information, we designed the site to be an excellent tool for vacation planning as well. We’ve included a lot of travel information that will be helpful while planning your vacation.

Even if you have no plans on traveling to the Grand Tetons, I hope that you might enjoy some of the photographs on the site. If you know of anyone planning a trip to Grand Teton National Park, or any hikers in general that may be interested, please feel free to forward the website onto them.

Thanks again for all of your support! We would also love to hear any feedback you might have.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Learn About Adventurous Women of Glacier

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park is hosting a brown-bag luncheon presentation by Glacier National Park Archivist Deirdre Shaw on Tuesday, October 21st, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the park’s community building in West Glacier.

Shaw’s program, “Not Just An Admiring Audience: Adventurous Women of Glacier National Park,” will highlight some of the extraordinary woman that have lived and worked in the park. Shaw will use oral histories, archival documents and photos to share stories about some of the female characters of the park’s history.

This program will be the last of a series of brown-bag luncheons for 2014 hosted by The Glacier National Park Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center. Programs for 2015 will begin in the spring. Please click here.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Elk Reduction Program To Begin In Grand Tetons

The 2014 elk reduction program begins Saturday, October 18, in Grand Teton National Park. Changes that were implemented in 2013 will be continued for the 2014 season. Those changes include: a requirement that hunters participating in the park's elk reduction program use non-lead ammunition; a limit to the number of cartridges hunters may carry each day; and the closure of a portion of the Snake River bottom to reduce the chance of grizzly bear-hunter encounters.

Under its 1950 enabling legislation, Grand Teton National Park is authorized by federal law to conduct an elk reduction program—when necessary—for conservation of the Jackson elk population. The legislation also directs Grand Teton to jointly develop this program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and for the Governor of Wyoming and Secretary of the Interior Department to approve the annual plan. Biologists and administrators from both agencies have reviewed available biological data and concluded that the 2014 program is necessary to keep the Jackson elk herd at, or near, objective and maintain a desired distribution of elk throughout their natural range.

The park's elk reduction program is an important management tool that differs somewhat from other elk hunting programs in the region. The use of archery, hand guns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, hunters, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter education card, and to carry and have immediately accessible bear spray as a non-lethal deterrent for use during potential bear encounters. Information packets accompanying each permit warn hunters of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the probability of human-bear conflicts.

The need for this reduction program stems partly from an intensive management framework that includes annual winter feeding programs on the National Elk Refuge and in the upper Gros Ventre drainage.Feeding sustains high numbers of elk with unnaturally low mortality rates. A majority of elk that are fed during the winter on the Refuge also summer in Grand Teton National Park or use migration routes across park lands. The reduction program targets elk from three primary herd segments: Grand Teton, southern Yellowstone National Park, and the Teton Wilderness area of Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Each fall, park rangers intensively monitor and patrol elk reduction areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide hunters with information on local conditions associated with this wildlife management policy.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Grizzly Encounters of the Pleasant Kind

The following is by a guest author:

Seeing the epic scenery of Glacier National Park first-hand, can be an almost spiritual experience. Its beauty and majesty are legendary, which is why it’s such a popular destination for visitors from around the globe. You can enjoy the area by driving along the 50 mile long ‘Going to the Sun’ road but to truly experience the full splendor, throw on your boots and backpack and hike those trails (you’ve got 700 miles to choose from).

Of course mountains, meadows and waterfalls aren’t the only reason tourists flock to the park. It offers good opportunities to view a wide range of wildlife, including bison, lynx, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, elk, wolverines, and of course bears. Although the park is also home to black bears, the grizzly is what most visitors come to see – from a safe distance.

Weather in Glacier is very changeable, so sturdy, waterproof clothing is essential. Because of its elevation and northerly position, it can snow at any time of the year, so make sure you bring a hat and gloves. The hikes can be many miles long and depending on the trail, can take all day, so you’ll need a stout pair of hiking boots, as well as a comfortable backpack. All the necessary clothing and equipment can be found at e-outdoor.co.uk. You can visit the park every day of the year and while it’s quieter in Fall, when you can see the beautiful color changes, most of the lodges and concessions close at the end of September, so you’d have to be more self-reliant.

While you can never guarantee seeing a grizzly, trails in the Many Glacier Valley (Iceberg Lake Trail, Cracker Lake Trail, Grinnell Glacier Trail); on Huckleberry Mountain (Huckleberry Lookout Trail) and in the Logan Pass area (Hidden Lane Trail, Highline Trail) on average, get the highest reported sightings.

It’s recommended that you never hike alone; groups of four or more are safest. The most sensible option is to go on a ranger-led hike. While spotting a bear in the distance is magical, up close and personal can be very dangerous. To avoid that happening, make noise along the trail by clapping and shouting every few minutes. Most grizzlies avoid humans and will leave if they hear or see you coming, but some have become somewhat bolder and may stay on the trail. The National Park Service has produced some excellent guidelines for staying safe in bear country.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Friday, October 10, 2014

U.S. Forest Service releases 2015 dates for fee-free days at most of the agencies’ day-use recreation sites

The U.S. Forest Service will waive fees at most of its day-use recreation sites several times in 2015, beginning with Jan. 19, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“These fee-free days are our way of thanking our millions of visitors but also to encourage more people to visit these great public lands,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “These lands belong to all Americans, and we encourage everyone to open the door to the great outdoors.”

No fees are charged at any time on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Check with your local forest or grassland or on Recreation.gov(link is external) to see if your destination charges a fee. Fees are used to help cover the cost of safe, clean facilities. Use the Forest Service map to find a national forest or grassland near you.

The 2015 scheduled fee-free days observed by the Forest Service are:

• Jan. 19: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which honors the legacy of the civil rights leader and encourages Americans to participate in the MLK Day of Service

• Feb. 16: Presidents Day, honoring our nation’s Presidents with particular attention towards commemorating President Washington and President Lincoln.

• June 13: National Get Outdoors Day, a day when federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry encourages healthy, outdoor activities.

• Sept. 26: National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands

• Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day, commemorates the end of World War I and pays tribute to all military heroes past and present.

Agency units plan their own events. Contact your local forest or grassland for more information. The last fee-free period for 2014 is Nov. 8-11 in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Yellowstone Breaks Monthly Record for September Visitation

Yellowstone National Park recorded its highest ever September visitation in 2014. A total of 571,764 recreational visitors came to Yellowstone in September. That is an increase of 2.48% compared to the September 2013 numbers.

There were a total of 3,288,804 recreational visits to Yellowstone during the first nine months of 2014, which represents an increase of 5.68% over the same period in 2013.

With three months left in the calendar year, Yellowstone has already received more visitors in 2014 than it did the entire previous year. Park visitation in 2013 was 3,188,030, the fifth highest visitation year in the park’s history.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rangers Conduct Late-Season Rescue on Grand Teton

A Utah climber required a helicopter rescue after falling on the Lower Exum Ridge of the Grand Teton on Sunday, October 5th, at Grand Teton National Park. Rangers were able to conduct the late season rescue despite low staffing levels and challenging weather conditions. Climbers in the Teton highcountry this time of year should expect winter conditions and plan for slower rescue response times.

Tomasz Misiewicz, 39, of Murray, Utah was climbing with a partner below the first pitch of the Lower Exum Ridge when he fell approximately 20 feet and sustained a leg injury. Misiewicz’s first piece of rock protection failed during the fall. He had taken a smaller fall without injury moments earlier on the same piece of rock protection, possibly contributing to the failure.

Misiewicz’s partner was able to lower him to a ledge and contact Teton Interagency Dispatch Center (TIDC) via 911 shortly after the accident. TIDC received the cell phone call for help at 11:15 am. Fortuitously, three seasonal climbing rangers, all of whom had completed their seasons and were making preparations to return to their winter homes, were available to assist from the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache. Additional permanent climbing rangers were also able to assist.

High winds and rapidly changing cloud conditions were a concern for the rescuing rangers. They were able to conduct a reconnaissance flight with a Teton Interagency contract helicopter and determined that a short-haul evacuation was possible. Two rangers were taken to the Lower Saddle by helicopter and made their way to the scene of the accident. The helicopter later returned and evacuated Misiewicz and an attending ranger via short-haul to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache where he was transferred to a park ambulance and transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming. The helicopter later returned to the Lower Saddle and extracted the remaining ranger and Misiewicz’s partner.

Rangers advise climbers to expect winter conditions in the Teton highcountry at this time of the year. Additionally, all seasonal climbing rangers are now off duty for the season, meaning limited staff is available for climbing rescues. The Teton Interagency contract helicopters will no longer be available after October 21st, making mountain rescues more lengthy and challenging. Climbers should use an abundance of caution in the Tetons and recognize that response times for rescues could be lengthy.

Hiking in Glacier National Park