Thursday, April 30, 2015

East Entrance to Yellowstone Opens Tomorrow

Yellowstone's East Entrance is scheduled to open to travel on Friday, May 1st. The park's South Entrance is set to open to the following Friday, May 8th.

The road from the park's North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance, Silver Gate and Cooke City, Mont., is open all year. The road east of Cooke City to WY-296, which typically opens by mid-May, opened April 28. Crews from the National Park Service and the Montana Department of Transportation strive to open US-212 over the Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge, Mont., in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Tower Fall to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass) is also set to open May 22.

Construction is under way north of the entrance to the Norris Campground on the road to Mammoth Hot Springs. Crews are rebuilding a 5.4 mile section of the road, as well as the bridge over the Gardner River. Visitors should expect daytime delays of up to 30 minutes throughout the summer season. Crews are also replacing the Isa Lake Bridge, which is on the road between Old Faithful and West Thumb Junction. This section of road will open June 11, with up to 30 minute traffic delays.

Details on both of these projects and updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117, or on the park's website.

Very limited visitor services will be available during the next several weeks. For updated information, click here, or consult the park newspaper available at the entrance station.

Visitors should be aware that spring in Yellowstone is unpredictable and often brings cold temperatures, high winds and snowfall. Travelers should use caution as road-clearing operations may be occurring at any time throughout the park. In the case of extreme weather conditions, temporary road closures are also possible with little or no advance warning.

Grand Teton Hiking

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grand Teton National Park Announces Opening Dates

Visitor facilities at Grand Teton National Park will open for the 2015 season starting Friday, May 1st and continue for the next several weeks. Opening dates for seasonally operated facilities and roads in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are as follows:


* Teton Park Road: May 1

* Moose-Wilson: May 1

* Grassy Lake Road: June 1; remnant snow drifts may limit access

* Paved multi-use pathways will be fully accessible for use once the snow melts naturally.

* Signal Mountain Summit: TBD, once additional snow melt occurs

Visitor Centers & Ranger Stations:

* Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center: Open

* Colter Bay Visitor Center: May 9

* Jenny Lake Visitor Center: May 15

* Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center: May 30

* Flagg Ranch Information Station: June 1

* Jenny Lake Ranger Station: June 6


* Gros Ventre: May 1

* Signal Mountain: May 8

*Jenny Lake: May 8

* Colter Bay: May 22

* Colter Bay RV Park: May 22

* Headwaters Campground & RV Sites: May 22

* Lizard Creek: June 12

All backcountry camping permits cost $25, whether advanced reservation or walk-in. Backcountry reservations may be made until May 15 with an additional $10 fee for advanced booking. Reservations can be made online at After May 15, all backcountry site permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.


* Signal Mountain Lodge: May 8

* Jackson Lake Lodge: May 18

* Colter Bay Cabins: May 22

* Triangle X Ranch: Mid-May

* Jenny Lake Lodge: June 1

* Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch: June 1

Entrance Stations:

The Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations are open and charging entry fees.

Bicyclists are reminded that they must stop and show an entry pass before proceeding through the gates, just as vehicles are required to do. An automated self-serve machine is located on the multi-use pathway adjacent to the Moose Entrance Station. People traveling on the pathway by foot, bike, or roller blade will be required to stop and pay or have a valid pass in possession.

For detailed information on all the hiking trails in the Grand Tetons, please click here.

Grand Teton Hiking

Monday, April 27, 2015

2014 Project Accomplishments and Summary for the Idaho Trails Association

The following is a guest blog by the Idaho Trails Association (ITA), a non-profit 501c3:

ITA’s Mission
Idaho Trails Association promotes the continued enjoyment of Idaho’s hiking trails.

ITA’s Purpose
To facilitate the active enjoyment of Idaho’s public lands and hiking trails, the Idaho Trails Association brings together citizens and develops partnerships to foster:

• Care-taking of Idaho’s hiking trails through stewardship projects, including trail construction and maintenance.

• Development of traditional trails maintenance skills.

• Understanding and appreciation, through education of Idaho’s unique trail resources.

• Preservation, protection and access to Idaho’s hiking trails through outreach and advocacy.

In 2014 Idaho Trails Association completed seven projects on the National Forest and BLM system lands in Idaho. Our Agency sponsors were the Boise BLM-Bruneau Field Office, Payette, Boise, Sawtooth and Panhandle National Forests. Four of these projects were within designated Wilderness, and involved both trail work and stewardship activities and three were on high use non-motorized trails.

The projects ranged from five volunteers in more remote and logistically challenging areas to fifty volunteers on the work days that were closer to large population bases.

Lunch Break at National Public Lands Day
Number of volunteers - 139
Volunteer field hours - 1,660
Monetary value - $36,520
Miles of trail cleared - 40.5
Miles of trail reconstructed - 4
Miles of new construction - 2
Logs cut from trail - 125
Water bars cleaned - 350
Puncheon constructed - 18 feet
Bridge construction - 1 @18 feet
Fence Removal - 1.6 miles
Wilderness Campsite Naturalization- 11
Human Waste Removal - “Piles”

Project Highlights:

The Panhandle NF provided the Grouse Mountain Trail project where the ITA crew constructed an eighteen foot long bridge, three hundred feet of newly constructed trail for the bridge approaches, eighteen feet of puncheon and removal of four large boulders from the trail tread. This project was funded through REI and ITA fund raising activities and membership.
Toxaway Lake, photo courtesy of Ed Cannady

The Sawtooth NF, Alice-Toxaway project was a highlight of the season. Six ITA volunteers spent five days in the Sawtooth Wilderness clearing over thirty miles of trail on one of the most popular loops in the Wilderness. The ITA crew also worked on cleaning camps and naturalizing overused sites. This weeklong session was funded through a grant from the Sawtooth Society.
Alice Lake, photo courtesy of Ed Cannady

The Boise BLM Bruneau Field Office has been a great partner to work with in the Owyhee Canyonlands and Wilderness areas. They have provided early and late season opportunities for volunteers to get out and help. We have removed wire fence, decommissioned roads and built new trail along with reconstructing existing trails in amazing country is always a big draw for volunteers. Roberson Trail in the Owyhee Wilderness has become an annual event on National Trails Day for ITA. This project brings in large numbers of volunteers who work at multiple projects to help with the stewardship of this area. This Owyhee project was funded through grants from REI.

The Hum Lake Trail on the Payette NF was the inaugural ITA project in 2010. We continued to work on this trail as an overnight project working to help reopen the North Fork of Lick Creek trail. We have added day work parties to this trail as it has become a very popular volunteer opportunity. This project is funded by REI and the USFS and volunteer pack support from BD Recreation Consultants.

Future Trail Boss
The National Public Lands Day brought out over 50 volunteers to do stewardship work in and outside the Owyhee Wilderness. During this project in the Owyhee Canyonlands the skills of future trail bosses were discovered. This young man was part of a “Toddler Brigade” who helped remove baseball sized rocks from the trail tread. He and 6 other youth were supervised by two parents who instructed the brigade in how to remove rocks without hurting or throwing them at anyone. The brigade was a success! It was hard to get past the group at the end of the day as everyone had to hear and see what a great job they did, and they did do a great job!

The Future:

The classic one day work party: As ITA grows we are getting more requests from the agencies for single day work parties to work on trails close to population hubs. These work parties have been funded by REI and the land management agencies, however future funding opportunities need to be pursued.
Cutting tress above Duck Lake

Large volunteer projects provide challenges because of the need to ensure ITA has enough qualified crew leads to manage the volunteers are available. Recruiting other passionate crew leaders will be important for future expansion and success.
Hum Lake Summit

ITA prides itself in teaching safety and completing the best quality trail work while also working towards creating supporters and stewards of our public lands. We may not knock out a project as fast as a contractor or force account crew, but the quality should be the same, and the potential of creating lifelong supporters of public lands is great. This goal is important for future partner relationships.

Our Message:

Roberson Trail Owyhee Wilderness
ITA is a hiking, trail advocacy and stewardship group. We formed to provide the voice for hikers throughout the state. Our role is to get work done and to develop strong stewards of the land who are informed and educated enough to provide support to land management agencies and continuing this goal is important.

ITA is proud to teach and promote traditional skills while accomplishing trail work. We feel it is a needed and necessary way to safely engage the public into volunteer stewardship to help our public lands. ITA promotes these traditional skills to provide the training and understanding that work can be accomplished safely and efficiently in this manner.

ITA has a goal to safely engage the public in stewardship activities, by doing this we hope to build a more accepting and supportive public who will enjoy recreating and participating in the future of our public lands.

Our Thanks:

To REI, Sawtooth Society, Agency Partners, volunteers, members, contributors, Board of Directors and Advisory Board for their time, energy, leadership and monetary contributions.

For more information on the Idaho Trails Association, please visit their website.

Grand Teton Hiking