Friday, October 20, 2017

Going-to-the-Sun Road Reopens to Avalanche

Going-to- the-Sun Road will reopen to Avalanche from the West Entrance by 12 pm on October 21. Going-to-the-Sun Road access from the St. Mary entrance is currently to Rising Sun. Logan Pass vehicle access from both the east and west park entrances has ended for the season.

The Going-to- the-Sun Road had previously been closed at Apgar on the west side of the park due to Sprague Fire activity, and then due to a large culvert replacement project several miles up the lake.

A significant amount of construction will still be occurring simultaneously with this road opening, some of which was delayed during the Sprague Fire and now must occur before winter. Visitors can expect intermittent one-lane traffic and delays between Apgar and Avalanche. Pullout rehabilitation continues, and many pullouts are closed as a result.

A portion of the Trail of the Cedars boardwalk has been removed to allow equipment access to the pedestrian footbridge currently under construction. The bridge is being modified to fully comply with ABA/ADA standards. Walking the Trail of the Cedars loop is not currently possible. In addition, a tree has fallen across the boardwalk portion breaking it, so the boardwalk portion of the trail is also temporarily closed. Visitors should obey signs and not enter construction zones.

Avalanche Lake Trail will be open, though hikers can expect to see trail crew conducting routine maintenance activities. In addition, a wind storm from earlier in the week has knocked down approximately 140 trees across the trail. The trail may close intermittently for tree clearing activities. Hikers should expect a much more difficult hiking experience than is typical due to trail condition.

Trails within the Sprague Fire burn area remain closed, including the trail to Sperry Chalet. The park estimates that nearly 2,000 trees have fallen over trail systems within the burn area. Hundreds more are expected to fall this winter with heavy snow. Significant tree fall hazards currently exist. The area closure is to protect human life and safety and violations carry federal penalties.

Trail crews will assess and begin clearing trails within the burn area in the spring when the threat to human safety is lower.

In the coming weeks, previously scheduled construction work on the entrance road to Avalanche Campground will begin. This will involve significant road excavation. Parking access in the campground once this construction begins will not be possible, even on weekends, due to the level of excavation that will occur. Visitors to the Avalanche area should park in the picnic area once campground road construction is underway.

A waterline will be installed between Sprague Creek Campground and Lake McDonald Lodge along the side of the Going-to- the-Sun Road. Traffic delays will occur around this operation as one lane will be utilized for construction.

The Lake McDonald Lodge parking area and pedestrian areas around the lodge will be closed for a period of time while the park completes flood risk mitigation activities following the Sprague Fire. Those activities include cleaning out culverts, pedestrian bridge modifications, and installing creek bank reinforcements in the Sprague and Snyder drainages.

Late-season hiker and biker access is currently to The Loop on the west side (beginning October 21) and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. The full road is not available to hikers and bikers right now because of excessive rock fall and treefall following this week’s wind storm. Hiker and biker access changes regularly in the late fall, and will shift to ski access as winter progresses.

Hikers, bikers, and vehicles may see more wildlife right now because the Avalanche area has been closed to the public in recent weeks. Bears are especially active at this time of year as they enter hyperphagia, a period when they seek large amounts of food before they den for the winter. All park visitors should carry bear spray in a readily accessible location, should know how to use it, and should remember required safe wildlife viewing distances. Those distances are 300 feet for bears and wolves, and 75 feet for all other wildlife.

Due to the scope of construction activities in the road corridor, delays experienced due to the Sprague Fire, and approaching winter, it is possible that the Going-to- the-Sun Road could re-close at one of the lower gates (Apgar, Lake McDonald Lodge, North McDonald Road, etc.) to facilitate more rapid construction. Typically the road closes at Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side on or before December 15, weather dependent.

Visitors entering the Going-to- the-Sun Road corridor through the West Glacier entrance should be mindful that the Sprague Fire continues to smolder to the east of the road, and is relatively close to the road in some areas. The entire fire area remains closed, and threats to human life and safety exist. Visitors should remain in the road corridor or on open trails and abide by area closures at all times.


Yellowstone Proposes Trail Project

Yellowstone is accepting comments regarding a proposed project on hiking trails in the southern part of the park. The project would involve portions of the Trail Creek and Two Ocean Plateau hiking trails that were damaged or destroyed by spring water run-off. This project would repair that damage and alleviate a problematic stream crossing during the summer of 2018. More specifically, the project would:

• Improve approximately 10 miles of trail
• Ensure the protection of sensitive terrain through extensive erosion control work
• Reroute approximately 400 yards of trail
• Involve constructing a small bridge for stock use

The National Park Service would complete the appropriate environmental compliance work and oversee the project in partnership with the Montana Conservation Corps.

Project information can be viewed and written comments submitted using the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system, hand-delivered, or mailed to the address below. Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any other way than those specified above. Comments must be received by midnight MST, November 18, 2017.

Hand deliver comments during business hours to:

Albright Visitor Center
Attention: Two Ocean Plateau Trail Project
Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190

Mail comments to:

Yellowstone National Park, Compliance Office
Attention: Two Ocean Plateau Trail Project
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190

Public Comment Considerations:

•Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
•Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information, be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made public at any time. You may ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
•The proposed project is an undertaking as outlined under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (36 CRF § 800). As such, we welcome comments about historic properties or other cultural resources that fall within the project area.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Public invited to talk with Wyoming Game and Fish Department about what they would like to know and learn about grizzly bears

The public is invited to talk with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department about what they would like to know and learn about grizzly bears. Game and Fish will be holding community meetings statewide beginning in mid-November where all people with an interest in grizzly bears can talk with wildlife managers. In May of last year the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a new version of its grizzly bear management plan. Now that the species has been delisted, management in Wyoming will be guided by this plan. These meetings will be an opportunity for those who are interested to weigh in on all components of grizzly bear management.

“We are excited to have conversations with the public and hear what they want to know and learn about their grizzly bears. We want these gatherings to be productive information sharing and listening sessions about an iconic animal that most everyone in Wyoming and beyond is interested in,” said Dan Thompson, Game and Fish large carnivore section supervisor.

The meetings will be a chance for the public to learn more about all aspects of grizzly bear research, education and management in Wyoming and help shape grizzly bear conservation in the future. Game and Fish biologists will open each meeting with a brief informative presentation on grizzly bear recovery and conservation, an overview of the major components of the grizzly bear management plan and what Game and Fish hopes to gain from discussions with the public.

“This is an opportunity for people to tell us what they think about grizzly bear management and to have an open discussion with Game and Fish about all the work we are doing with grizzly bears,” said Thompson. “After decades of recovery efforts, we now have the opportunity to delve deeper into some of the questions the public may have as to what is happening with grizzly bears and with our management of the population.”

Thompson said that while much outside focus and interest has been solely on hunting, the goals of the meeting are to talk about the overall grizzly bear management and the education and outreach program, Bear Wise, within the Game and Fish.

The tentative meeting schedule includes:

• Nov 8: Casper and Laramie
• Nov 9: Sheridan
• Nov 15: Jackson
• Nov 16: Pinedale
• Nov 29: Green River
• Nov 30: Cody
• Dec 4: Lander

Specific times and locations will be announced at the end of October. Information about grizzly bear management and education efforts is available on the Game and Fish website.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton to be Closed on October 17th

To accommodate road maintenance, a brief travel closure will be in place on Tuesday, October 17 on the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park. The section of road will be closed beginning at 7:00 a.m. and will reopen by 5:30 p.m. The road will be graded and rolled to improve conditions which have deteriorated recently due to wet weather.

Motorists and bicyclists should plan to use an alternate route on October 17 as this temporary closure will prevent making a ‘through trip’ on the Moose-Wilson Road between the Granite Canyon Entrance Station and the Teton Park Road at Moose, Wyoming.

For those wishing to reach the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve or the 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.

Roadwork schedules may change, or be delayed, due to weather conditions, equipment malfunction, or other extenuating circumstances. The Moose-Wilson Road between Granite Canyon Trailhead and the Death Canyon Road junction is scheduled to close for the season the evening of October 31.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Temporary Closure Scheduled for Jenny Lake

Starting Monday, October 16, a temporary closure will be in effect for several trails and walkways within the Jenny Lake area of Grand Teton National Park. The temporary public closure is necessary to ensure public safety during helicopter transport of heavy material to the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas on the west side of Jenny Lake, as well as the paved walking paths on the east shore of the lake. The public closure is scheduled to be in effect through Sunday, October 22, though it may be lifted sooner as work is completed or postponed due to weather conditions or other circumstances.

Trails leading from Jenny Lake’s southeast shore to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point will be temporarily closed to all public access. Walking paths around the Jenny Lake Visitor Center will also be closed intermittently. Lake access from the public boat launch will not be allowed.

All visitor services in the Jenny Lake area, including the shuttle boat and visitor center, are closed for the season. Signs will be posted throughout the closure area, and park staff will be positioned to provide suggestions for alternate routes for anyone visiting this area of the park.

Areas not affected by this temporary public closure include: the Teton Park Road; Jenny Lake scenic loop road; access to Jenny Lake via the String Lake trailhead; access to Cascade Canyon via the horse trail bypass; and access to the Lupine Meadows trailhead.

This construction work is part of the Jenny Lake Renewal Project, a $19 million public-private partnership between the National Park Service and Grand Teton National Park Foundation. The project will enhance the visitor experience at the park’s most popular destination for generations to come. 2017 is the fourth of five major construction seasons.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Amazing Interview With Man Who Survived a Grizzly Bear Attack - Twice

This is a truly an amazing story. Todd Orr, an all-around outdoorsman from Bozeman, Montana, sat down with Jason Matzinger to discuss the sow grizzly bear that attacked him twice last fall. This guy was so incredibly calm and collected that he had the wherewithal to walk the three miles back to the trailhead by himself, and then shoot a short video of himself to show the damage done by the bear. That short clip is included in this video:

Before venturing into grizzly bear country it's always a good idea to educate yourself on how to prevent an encounter, and what to do should you see a grizzly while on the trail.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017 Adds Four New Hikes to Website

Before venturing into the Canadian Rockies this past September (see blog posts from the past two weeks), we stopped in Glacier National Park for a few days of hiking. Other than Yellowstone, it may have been the highest concentration of wildlife we've ever seen in only a few days. In addition to the amazing scenery atop Grinnell Glacier Overlook, the highlight of our trip was the white wolf we saw in the Medicine Grizzly valley. It was the first wolf any of us had ever seen in Glacier.

As a result of this trip we've added four new hikes to our website at Here's a quick rundown of each of those hikes:

* Grinnell Glacier Overlook is quite possibly the best view in Glacier National Park! This is in addition to all the stunning scenery you'll see along the Highline Trail before reaching the overlook. As we sat there soaking in the magnificent views, a nanny mountain goat and her kid raced past us - within 10 feet! At first we thought we were being charged, but she just wanted to get to the other side safely.

* Lake Josephine Loop - This loop takes you around both Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier area. The hike is mostly flat, making it a great choice for almost everyone in the family. Oh yea, the views are simply outstanding! Almost every time we've hiked in this area we've seen at least one moose.

* Triple Divide Pass - If you're looking for a little bit of solitude in Glacier National Park, Triple Divide Pass just may be the ticket. The trailhead is located in Cut Bank, roughly half-way between Two Medicine and St. Mary. The pass lies just below Triple Divide Peak, the only hydrological apex in North America - or is it? After soaking in the panoramic views from the pass, while proceeding down the mountain, we saw a white wolf trotting through a meadow in the valley below.

* Two Medicine Pass - Our wildlife tour definitely continued on this hike. During this trek we saw an owl as it soared through the trees just up the trail, saw an extremely large bull moose just below Rockwell Falls, and then, as we neared the pass, we came upon a large herd of Bighorn sheep. Numbering at least three dozen, it was by far the largest herd of Bighorns we've ever seen in one place. Once atop the pass we enjoyed outstanding panoramic views on both sides of the narrow ridge.

To see all of the trails covered by our website, please click here.

Hiking in Glacier National Park