Monday, April 14, 2014

News Round-up for the Grand Tetons

While snowfall totals in some areas of the west have been exceptionally low this winter (less than a third of normal in the Sierra Nevadas in California), the Teton Range in Grand Teton National Park has had one of the deepest snowpacks recorded in the last 18 years.

The Jackson Hole Avalanche Center has reported 500 inches at that location, up from a total of 383 inches last winter, and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort still has 140 inches of snow on the ground, the fourth deepest snowpack in the resort’s 48-year history.

Park road crews are now in the process of opening roads. Last week, they cut through the deep snowpack on the Teton Park Road between the Taggart Lake parking area and Signal Mountain Lodge—a distance of 15 miles— and completed this portion of the annual spring plowing on Friday, April 4th. They are still in the process of clearing the Jenny Lake scenic loop road, as well as other auxiliary roads and wayside areas.

The annual plowing of the Teton Park Road is a process that can take several weeks to complete, depending on the depth and consistency of the snowpack. Due to the exceptionally deep and dense snowpack this year, snow removal on just the principal Teton Park Road has taken the better part of two weeks.

Spring Migration Is Underway:

With the arrival of spring-like weather and recent snow melt across the sagebrush flats north of Jackson, animals are now migrating from their winter ranges toward their summering sites within Grand Teton National Park. Because spring migration is now fully underway, motorists must drive with extra caution during the coming weeks and be alert for wildlife near and along park roadways, such as Highway 26/89/191(Hwy 89).

Bears Are Out:

Bears are now out of hibernation and active again in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Consequently, park visitors need to be alert for bears and take appropriate precautions when using the Teton Park Road and other park areas. Visitors should exercise common sense and good judgment, stay alert, and follow these recommended safety tips while biking, hiking or spring skiing:

* Make noise
* Travel in a group of three or more
* Carry bear spray and know how to use it
* Maintain a 100-yard distance from bears at all times
* Never approach a bear under any circumstances

People should also report any bear sightings or sign to the nearest visitor center or ranger station. Timely reporting will help park staff to provide important safety messages about bear activity to other visitors.

Hiking in Glacier National Park


  1. Its the "Sierra Nevada" range not "Sierra Nevadas". Sierra means range of mountains. There is only one mountain range.

  2. Anon, I think it's fairly common to refer to them in the plural. According to Encyclopedia Britannica: "Sierra Nevada, also called Sierra Nevadas, major mountain range of western North America, running along the eastern edge of the U.S. state of California."

    PBS also makes the same reference: "The Sierra Nevadas form a natural barrier along California's eastern border..."



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