Thursday, June 30, 2016

Update on Bear Attack near West Glacier

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) personnel and Flathead County Sheriff’s Officials are continuing to investigate a bear attack on a mountain biker on June 29 on Forest Service property a few miles south of West Glacier. The attack occurred yesterday afternoon and it appeared to be a surprise encounter. Samples collected on the scene will be used to help identify whether it's a black or grizzly bear.

Brad Treat, a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service, was riding his mountain bike when he was attacked by a bear on the Green Gate/Half Moon trail system off of U.S. Highway 2. Treat’s companion reported the incident and was not attacked. Treat was found dead by officers at the scene of the attack and Treat’s body was transported out by off-highway vehicle.

FWP’s Wildlife Human Attack Response Team is investigating the incident. The team is comprised of wardens and biologists trained in investigating these incidents.

The Green Gate/Half Moon trail system remains closed and posted by Forest Service officials in the interest of public safety. This includes the following Forest System Roads (FSR): #11065A “Pack Trail”; #2863 “Hog Haven”; #2805 “Belton Point Road”; #11011 “Halfmoon Lake Road”; #632 “Belton Ski Course”; and #10325 “Ryan Road”. For more information on the closures, please contact the Flathead National Forest at 406-758-5200.

Yesterday, investigators from FWP searched for the offending bear but were unable to locate it. Late last night, two traps and remote cameras were set for the bear and monitoring of the traps will continue. Flights are also being conducted with the aid of Two Bear Air in an attempt to locate the bear.

FWP Warden Captain Lee Anderson noted that samples for DNA analysis were collected at the scene in efforts to identify the individual bear. “We are attempting to capture and/or confirm the identity of the offending bear,” Anderson said. “When we have more information we will decide what actions to take.”

Anderson noted that the thoughts and prayers of everyone go out to the Treat family and the U. S. Forest Service. Anderson thanks Glacier National Park, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue, Two Bear Air, Alert, and the U.S. Forest Service employees for their efforts. The incident is under investigation and more details will be released as they become available.

For more information on recreating in bear country, please click here.


Secretary Jewell, WY Governor Mead Announce Agreement to Permanently Protect State Land within Grand Teton National Park

Representing an important step for Grand Teton National Park, its philanthropic partners, and the State of Wyoming, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead have announced an agreement to allow for the purchase and permanent protection of two State school land parcels located within the park.

“The agreement announced today is a true win-win for the State of Wyoming and for the National Park Service as it invests in the future of Wyoming’s school children and will protect in perpetuity these world-class natural treasures that belong to all Americans,” said Jewell. “I am not alone in the belief that commercial development of these lands is inconsistent with the natural values of the area, and we are absolutely committed to working with Congress and those who have generously stepped forward to ensure the long-term protection of important wildlife habitat and breathtaking vistas.”

“I am pleased the sale of these state parcels inside the Park is moving forward,” said Governor Mead. “This sale will fulfill our responsibility to realize the greatest return possible for the state lands involved and will bring revenue to the Common School Permanent Land Fund. The agreement still needs to be considered and approved by the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners.”

Wyoming has a constitutional obligation to earn income from its state school lands, even those within Grand Teton National Park, leaving them vulnerable to potential commercial development. Under agreements previously reached in 2010 and 2014, the National Park Service had a deadline of January 5, 2016, to complete a land exchange with Wyoming for the Antelope Flats and Kelly parcels. Under Wyoming state law, the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners is authorized to put the parcels up for public, competitive auction if they are not conveyed by December 31, 2016.

The agreement signed by Secretary Jewell earlier this month paves the way for the permanent protection of these parcels by extending from January 5, 2016, to December 31, 2016, the ability of the National Park Service to purchase these lands using federal and private resources.

Under the agreement, Wyoming would receive $46 million, which was set by appraisal, for the 640-acre Antelope Flats land. The land acquisition is the Department of the Interior’s highest priority for the National Park Service, and the Department is working with Congress to appropriate the requested funding in Fiscal Year 2017 for the project. The Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the National Park Foundation committed to raising the remaining $23 million, and recently announced $5 million in private commitments toward that goal.

A total of $16 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) funding has previously been used to buy two of the four State in-holdings within Grand Teton National Park.

For more information, and how you can help, please click here.


Yellowstone Begins Major Canyon Rim Rehabilitation Project

A major initiative to repair and improve overlooks, trails, and parking lots along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River began the week of June 20, 2016. The current area closures are the first step in a major rehabilitation project that will take place over the next four years, with completion scheduled for 2020.

The project will re-route trails away from dangerous areas with stone barriers; connect historic overlooks with new walkways; create safe, accessible viewing areas with new informational signage; and use natural materials to integrate the infrastructure into the canyon’s spires and cliffs.

Current closures include:

•Inspiration Point is closed until fall 2016.
•A section of the North Rim Trail between the Brink of Upper Falls and the Brink of Lower Falls is closed until July 23, 2016. The Brink of Upper Falls and Brink of Lower Falls are still accessible from their respective trailheads.

Areas impacted over the four-year period include:

•Brink of Upper Falls
•Brink of Lower Falls
•Uncle Tom’s Trails and Overlooks
•Inspiration Point
•Red Rock Point
•Crystal Falls
•Sections of the North Rim Trail that connect these areas
•Parking areas at the Brink of Upper Falls and the Uncle Tom’s area are being reconfigured to increase parking and the flow of pedestrian traffic. Stay informed about current and future area closures at

This project will be funded by the Yellowstone Park Foundation ( through private donations and federal fee dollars. Construction will be managed and contracted by the Federal Highways Administration, with oversight by Yellowstone National Park. A crew of students from Montana Conservation Corps is assisting the National Park Service trail crew with work on the North Rim Trail.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Free Park Shuttle Service Begins July 1st in Glacier

Glacier National Park's free, optional shuttle system that provides daily service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road during peak season begins operating on Friday, July 1 and will continue through Monday, September 5. In addition, limited shuttle service to Logan Pass from Apgar Visitor Center will operate through September 18 this year in response to public interest in having shuttle service extend into September, according to Jim Foster, Glacier National Park's Chief of Facilities Management.

"The public has been asking the park to extend the shuttle service into September for a number of years," said Jim Foster, Chief of Facilities Management. "This year we are pleased to accommodate that request on the west side of the park and see how many visitors take advantage of the bus during the shoulder season."


The first shuttle bus, called the Express Shuttle, leaves Apgar Visitor Center at 7:00 a.m. and goes straight to Logan Pass. Following this first bus, additional Express Shuttles leave Apgar Visitor Center at 7:05 a.m., 7:18 a.m., 7:23 a.m., and 7:36 a.m. for a non-stop trip to Logan Pass.

After reaching Logan Pass, the 7:00 a.m. and 7:18 a.m. Express Shuttles continue on to St. Mary Visitor Center. The other Express Shuttles return westbound to Avalanche Creek from Logan Pass to begin regular service between those two destinations.

At 7:56 a.m. and 8:17 a.m. an Express Shuttle leaves Apgar Visitor Center and makes stops only at Avalanche Creek, The Loop, and Logan Pass.

Regular shuttle bus service begins each day at 9:00 a.m. with buses departing every 15-30 minutes from every stop, with a transfer required at Avalanche Creek. The last bus of the day leaves Logan Pass at 7:00 p.m. for the Apgar Visitor Center.

The west-side shuttle service will continue operating through September 18.


The St. Mary Visitor Center is the hub for shuttle services on the east-side of the park. East-side buses begin service at 7:00 a.m. from the visitor center and depart every 40 to 60 minutes. The last bus of the day leaves Logan Pass for the St. Mary Visitor Center at 7:00 p.m. The east-side service will continue operating through September 5.

The shuttle service is free, wheelchair accessible, and first-come, first-served. Bicycle racks are available on some of the buses. Expect limited seating at most locations during periods of heavy demand. Smoking, pets, and open containers of alcohol are prohibited while riding the buses. Bear spray must be safely secured to prevent accidental discharge on the buses.

For more information on the shuttle system, visit


Fire Danger Has Increased to High in Grand Teton

Teton Interagency fire managers announce that the fire danger rating is High for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, and Teton Interagency Dispatch Area. The potential for fire activity has increased due to drying vegetation combined with higher temperatures, low humidity, and brisk afternoon winds.

A high fire danger rating means that fires can start easily and spread quickly. When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees;projected weather conditions (including temperatures and possible wind events);the ability of fire to spread after ignition;and availability of firefighting resources across the country.

As the Independence Day holiday approaches, visitors and local residents alike are reminded that fireworks are not permitted in Grand Teton National Park, on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, or in Sublette and Teton Counties.It is critical that everyone comply with this regulation, especially given the very dry vegetation and warm temperatures throughout the Teton Interagency Zone.

Along with the fireworks prohibition on public and county lands, campers are reminded that unattended or abandoned campfires can easily escalate into wildfires;therefore, it is important that all campfires are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving a site. Campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use.All campfires must be completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving a site.

Visitors have abandoned 19 campfires on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and in Grand Teton National Park so far this summer. Campers should be mindful that they could be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire. Local residents and area visitors are reminded to know the risks, exercise caution, and practice heightened fire safety at all times.

To report a fire or smoke in Bridger-Teton National Forest or Grand Teton National Park, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630. For more fire information, please visit


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Elk Refuge Antler Collection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the help of the Jackson District Boy Scouts, collect over 6,000 pounds of antlers from the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole each year. This short video from Wyoming Tourism highlights the symbiotic relationship between the scouts and the elk:


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

National Park Service Announces New National Recreation and Water Trails

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis recently announced the designation of six local and state National Recreation Trails, adding more than 350 miles to the National Trails System. The proclamation also includes three National Water Trails, which adds more than 600 miles to the National Water Trails System.

“By designating these new National Trails, we recognize the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Jewell. “Our world-class network of national trails provides easily accessible places to enjoy exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while also boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities in local communities across the country.”

“The network of national recreation and water trails offers expansive opportunities for Americans to explore the great outdoors,” said Jarvis. “With summer here, I hope everyone will take advantage of a trail nearby to hike, paddle or bike. It’s a great family outing and an opportunity to fill your lungs with fresh air and enjoy the beauty of the world around us.”

National Recreation Trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. Each of the newly designated trails will receive a certificate of designation, a set of trail markers and a letter of congratulations from Secretary Jewell.

While national scenic trails and national historic trails may only be designated by an act of Congress, national recreation trails (including national water trails) may be designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization.

The National Recreation Trails program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with a number of Federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website.

For more information and a list of the new trails added to the system, please click here.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Black Phantoms - A Wolf Encounter in Glacier National Park

"Black Phantoms - My Wolf Encounter" is a short film by Jake Bramante, the first person to hike all of the trails in Glacier National Park in one year, which is chronicled on his Hike 734 website. He put together this video for a local film festival in November of 2011. Jake does a great job of describing his encounter with a pack of three wolves during one his hikes. Enjoy! ‎


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Research Protects Grand Teton’s Wildlife

The Grand Teton National Park Foundation recently published a short video (below) which highlights several Foundation-funded research projects that are currently underway within the national park. Research findings from these projects influence management decisions and conservation plans, with the ultimate goal of preserving Grand Teton’s magnificent wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations.

Research Protects Grand Teton's Wildlife from GTNP Foundation on Vimeo.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Release of Draft Revised Plan for the Flathead National Forest, the Forest Plan Amendments for Helena and Lewis and Clark, Lolo, and Kootenai National Forests

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service recently released the draft revised land and resource management plan (draft forest plan) and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Flathead National Forest for public review and comment. In addition to the effects of the draft forest plan, the DEIS includes the environmental consequences of the proposed forest plan amendments to incorporate habitat management direction for grizzly bears for the Helena-Lewis & Clark, Lolo, and Kootenai National Forests. Written and electronic comments will be accepted for 120 days.

The publication of a Notice of Availability of the draft documents in the Federal Register begins the public comment period on both the draft forest plan, amendments and DEIS. A total of two open houses are scheduled in Kalispell and Missoula during the 120-day comment period. These open houses are intended as an opportunity to visit with individual planning team members and review maps of management area allocations by alternatives. The location and schedule of these open houses will be publicized in local newspapers and can be found on the Flathead National Forest website. The draft documents are available for review and comment online.

Comments may be submitted via email to, via facsimile to (406) 758- 5379 or in writing to: Flathead National Forest Supervisor’s Office, Attn: Forest Plan Revision, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT., 59901 The Forest Service will carefully review the comments on the draft Forest Plan, Amendments and DEIS. There will also be an objection process for any unresolved concerns prior to the final decision.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Free Official Mobile App Launched for Yellowstone

The NPS Yellowstone National Park app is now available from the Apple App Store, and an Android version will be available soon. This free, official mobile app provides useful information about visitor centers, places to stay and eat, shopping and services, and historic places and natural features. Cell service and Wi-Fi are limited in the park, so visitors are encouraged to download the app before they arrive. More information is available online at

The new app offers many useful features. Users can:

• Explore the interactive park map, which is easy to use while outdoors and includes large font sizes, illustrated trails and services, scenic highlights, and multiple zoom levels. By tapping the “Locate me” button, you will always know where you are.

• Learn more about points of interest with text and photographs.

• Discover rich natural and cultural resources with self-guided walking tours.

•Get up-to-date information about what is happening in Yellowstone, including links to geyser predictions and road construction information.

• With the tap of a button, share a digital postcard with friends and family.

• Get up-to-date accessibility information for facilities and some trails in the park, audio-described sites, and alternative text for images.

Visitation increased considerably last year, and this summer promises to be just as busy—if not busier. To get the most out of a Yellowstone adventure, visitors should plan carefully before they arrive. Lodging and campgrounds fill early, and it is unlikely to find a place to stay at the last minute. The official Yellowstone National Park website provides a wealth of trip planning information

The NPS Yellowstone National Park app was developed in partnership with the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, NPMap, Harpers Ferry Center, Montana State University, and Colorado State University. The app was made possible, in part, by a donation from Canon U.S.A., Inc., through the Yellowstone Park Foundation.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Clif Bar Issues Voluntary Recall of Three Flavors That May be Contaminated With Listeria

Clif Bar & Company is initiating a voluntary recall of CLIF BAR® Nuts & Seeds energy bars, CLIF BAR® Sierra Trail Mix energy bars, and CLIF® Mojo® Mountain Mix® trail mix bars, sold nationally, after its ingredient supplier, SunOpta, was found to have distributed sunflower kernels that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (L.mono).

Clif Bar has not received any reports of illness; however, the company is initiating the voluntary recall in an abundance of caution.

Only the flavors meeting the following criteria are affected by the recall:

• CLIF BAR® Nuts & Seeds energy bar all pack configurations with “best by” date ranges starting 08JUN16 through 21JAN17

• CLIF BAR® Sierra Trail Mix energy bar all pack configurations with “best by” date ranges starting 05JUN16 through 24MAR17

• CLIF® Mojo® Mountain Mix® trail mix bar all pack configurations with “best by” date ranges starting 16JUN16 through 02FEB17

Pictures of the products listed above are available here.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in pregnant women, young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

People who have purchased any of the above products are urged not to consume the products and to destroy it. All retailers who received the products are being contacted. Any questions can be directed to 1-888-851-8456. Details also can be found here. Clif Bar is consulting with the FDA on this voluntary recall.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Glacier National Park Road Status Update

This week, plowing crews on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park cleared new snow and debris from 19 avalanches that were triggered during last week's winter storm. In addition, road crews plowed snow from the Logan Pass Visitor Center parking lot for the second time in three weeks.

Before the road can be opened to motorists, crews will need to clear the forty-foot deep "Big Drift" down to pavement and install hundreds of guard rails along the steepest parts of the road.

Going-to-the-Sun Road Hiker/Biker Access

Currently, the hiker/biker closure on the west side of the park is located at Bird Woman Falls Overlook, approximately thirteen miles past the vehicle closure, while the road crew is working during the week. On the east side, the hiker/biker closure is located at Siyeh Bend, approximately two miles past the vehicle closure. On Saturdays and Sundays bicyclists and hikers may travel as far as conditions allow.

Hikers and bicyclists on the west side are encouraged to use the free shuttle that can be accessed at the Lake McDonald Lodge shuttle stop across from the Camp Store. The shuttle runs daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Lake McDonald Lodge to Avalanche.

Hikers and bicyclists should always be alert for snowplows and other heavy equipment on park roads as well as areas of ice, slush, avalanche zones and fallen rock. Visitors are reminded to use caution when traveling as patches of ice and the danger of avalanches remain. Please be aware of wildlife on park roads and report any bear or mountain lion activity or sighting, regardless of the location, to a park ranger.

Other Roads

On the west side of the Park, the Camas Road is open. The Inside North Fork Road is currently closed to vehicles between Logging Creek Ranger Station and Fish Creek, due to past flooding events that damaged the road. The southern end of the Inside North Fork Road is open to Camas Creek, approximately 6.5 miles north of the Fish Creek junction.

On the east side of the Park, Cut Bank Road is currently closed at the park boundary. Some snow remains but the road is passable to the park boundary. Hiker/Biker access is allowed beyond the closed gate. The Chief Mountain Road and border crossing are open. Many Glacier and Two Medicine Roads are both open. For current road conditions, check the park's website.


On the west side of the park, Sprague Creek, Apgar, Bowman Lake, Kintla Lake and Fish Creek Campgrounds are now open. On the east side of the park Two Medicine, Many Glacier, and St. Mary Campgrounds are open. Most campgrounds in Glacier are first-come first-served with the exception of Fish Creek, St. Mary, some of Many Glacier and half of the group sites in Apgar. Campground sites can be reserved online at

Warm Weather Expected

Warmer temperatures are expected this weekend with highs in the mid-eighties for the west side of the park and the upper seventies on the east side of the park. These warm temperatures will cause increased snow melt and higher water conditions in streams and rivers. Visitors are reminded to use extreme caution near waterfalls, streams, and rivers throughout the park.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Two-day Closure Scheduled for Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park

To accommodate a dust abatement application, a brief travel closure will be in place for about 48 hours, beginning 4 a.m. Tuesday, June 7th, on the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park. The road will reopen by 8 a.m. Thursday, June 9th.

Motorists and bicyclists should plan to use an alternate route on June 7-8 as this temporary closure will prevent making a 'through trip' on the Moose-Wilson Road from Granite Canyon Entrance Station to the Teton Park Road at Moose, Wyoming. This is the first of three scheduled dust abatement treatments for the 2016 season.

For those wishing to reach the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve or Death Canyon Trailhead, access will be possible by heading south from the Teton Park Road junction near the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center.

Electronic signs will be placed on Wyoming Highway 390 to alert park visitors and local residents of the scheduled road closure. For travelers heading south to Teton Village from the Moose area, signs will also be placed near the junction of the Teton Park Road.

The product used for dust abatement is a slurry of magnesium chloride—the same product that is used to treat dirt roads in and around Jackson Hole. This product coats the road surface, but it can also adhere to the undercarriage of vehicles. Motorists who drive the unpaved portion of the Moose-Wilson Road after it reopens on Thursday may want to rinse off their vehicles to eliminate any residue.

Roadwork schedules may change, or be delayed, due to weather conditions, equipment malfunction, or other extenuating circumstances.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bridger-Teton National Forest Hosts National Trails Day Event

June 4th is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, and the Greys River Ranger District of the Bridger Teton National Forest will be hosting a National Trails Day event in partnership with Teton County Weed and Pest.

The event is focused on an Alpine area trails project in which volunteers are invited to come and be trained in how to recognize invasive weeds and trail maintenance skills for creating or repairing sustainable trails. Volunteers will actually get to ‘adopt a trail’ that they will be asked to assess using the tools and knowledge acquired during the training.

National Trails Day aims to highlight the important work thousands of volunteers do each year to take care of America’s trails. Greys River District Ranger, Richard Raione is looking forward to the volunteer’s active involvement “There are many great hiking trails accessible from Alpine and it’s wonderful to get community members out enjoying these trails and directly participating with trail upkeep. This is a great example of volunteerism from the community since this project started with the vision and work done by Meta Dittmer in cooperation with the Forest Service.”

The training starts at 9:00am at the Alpine public library at 243 River Circle, Alpine, WY 83128. The morning session begins with an overview of the Alpine area trails project, after which attendees will learn how to identify noxious weeds and trail maintenance needs. Volunteers will then be briefed on how to download and use an assessment tool on their smart phone or device to use while hiking on their adopted trail. In the afternoon, participants will reconvene at Trail Creek trail up the Little Greys River to practice using the assessment tool and skills they learned in the morning session. The training event is scheduled to wrap up at 5:00 p.m.

“This event is going to be a great way to get folks out hiking their local trails and becoming more familiar with management practices and techniques for their public lands”, says Kara Purser who works for Greys River Ranger District Recreation Program and will be overseeing the volunteers throughout the summer. Community members who have volunteer inquiries or questions regarding the event are invited to email Kara at