Friday, May 29, 2015

Sperry and Granite Park Chalets Launch Trailhead Shuttle Service

Sperry and Granite Park Chalets announced yesterday that they will be offering shuttle service to all chalet trailheads this summer.

For additional information, schedule and costs, please click here.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Climbing Longs Peak

It dominates the horizon in northern Colorado. It's been photographed by Ansel Adams, has been featured on the Colorado state quarter, and is the most-climbed fourteener in Colorado. At 14,259 feet Longs Peak is also the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park, and is the only mountain in the park to exceed 14,000 feet.

I once "attempted" to summit Longs Peak. I got about two hundred yards or so above The Keyhole and discovered that I really wasn't a mountaineer. I thought the sheer drop-offs from the trail along that narrow stretch were downright frightening. Although many people summit the mountain each summer, many others are satisfied just to reach The Keyhole. Although a very tough day hike, the views are quite spectacular along the way, as well as from The Keyhole itself. Moreover, hikers don't have to worry about falling off the mountain to get there!

In the video below the editors of Backpacker Magazine take viewers on a vicarious climb to the top of Longs Peak. You be the judge - would you do this?


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Volunteer in the Grand Tetons on National Trails Day June 6th

National Trails Day is just around the corner and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation looks forward to celebrating the annual event for the second year in a row. Join the Foundation on Saturday, June 6th for their volunteer event in Grand Teton National Park. Volunteers will focus on trail maintenance along one of the many popular hiking trails in the Grand Tetons. The specific location will be determined the week of the event.

This nationwide holiday is celebrated every year on the first Saturday in June to recognize America’s extensive trail system. Trail maintenance is extremely important in protecting Grand Teton’s natural resources. Not only do clear trails provide an enjoyable hiking experience, they also minimize erosion and impact on the environment.

Interested in volunteering? Please RSVP to or 307-201-7660 by Wednesday, June 3rd.

Volunteers will meet at Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 11AM and should plan to return around 5PM.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Gear Review: The New Dare 2B Stalwart Jacket

This morning I finally had the opportunity to test the Stalwart Jacket, a new line of outdoor apparel from Dare 2B, an outdoor clothing company out of the United Kingdom. In addition to cycling, running and snow sports, the clothing company also focuses on apparel for hikers.

And, just in time for the spring and summer season, Dare 2B has launched a new line of active wear which now includes its new Body Seamless technology, which is designed to reduce friction in critical areas during active sports, while ensuring that you'll have maximum comfort at all times and at all levels of activity. As part of this new line is the brand new Stalwart Jacket.

Dare 2B touts the jacket as "the ultimate fast and light defense from the elements". This 4-way stretch shell is waterproof, breathable and is super lightweight. The jacket features taped seams, has a full front zip and underarm zips for ventilation, an adjustable shockcord hem system, multiple pockets, adjustable cuffs, a shaped hood with a technical wired peak to keep the rain out, and has a roll away hood function.

So after hanging in my closet for a couple of weeks, I finally had the opportunity to give the jacket a real live field test this morning. I was waiting for the opportunity to take a walk in the rain to see if the jacket lived up to its billing. Overall I was very pleased.

During my somewhat brisk half-hour walk around the neighborhood in a steady rain, the jacket kept me completely dry. Moreover, at 65 degrees, I worried that I was going to overheat inside the jacket. To my surprise this didn't happen. In fact, I felt completely comfortable during the entire circuit. This surprised me because the jacket is thicker than a standard shell, and even has a light lining. Now, if I had to climb some substantial elevation in these same conditions, the result might be a little different. That, however, remains to be seen.

I also thought that the wired peak feature on the hood was a plus, acting similarly to that of a baseball cap.

My only real complaint with the Stalwart Jacket is with the design of the hood. When turning my head from side to side, the hood wouldn't move. To remedy this I had to pull the hood with my hand in order to see on either side of me.

Americans will also have to get used to the zipper being switched to the opposite side. Maybe its because I'm left-handed, but it takes a little practice to get used to the English/European version. Potential customers should also note that the Stalwart Jacket is cut a little more slimmer than their American cousins.

All in all I thought this was a great jacket, and look forward to using it in the mountains when the weather turns sour.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Snake River Brewing Beer Supports Jenny Lake Renewal Project

The Snake River Brewing (SRB), in partnership with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, is pleased to announce the launch of Jenny Lake Lager, formerly known as Snake River Lager. SRB’s collaboration with the Foundation will provide support for Inspiring Journeys, a $17 million renewal effort that is underway at Jenny Lake, and will help the Foundation spread the word about the project to new audiences within the community. The newly rebranded product will be sold at a celebration on May 28th from 5:00-8:00 pm at the Brewpub. The community is invited to attend; there will be giveaways and live music from John Wayne’s World.

For every Jenny Lake Lager purchased in 2015 and 2016, a portion of the proceeds will support the Inspiring Journeys campaign. This public-private project between Grand Teton National Park and the Foundation is transforming Jenny Lake’s trails, bridges, key destinations, and visitor complex for the National Park Service centennial in 2016. When Snake River Brewing owner, Ted Staryk, and his family first moved to Jackson, Jenny Lake hikes were among their favorites. As part of the Inspiring Journeys campaign, Staryk saw the opportunity to rebrand Snake River Lager as a way to give back and to celebrate a place his family loves.

Jenny Lake Lager’s new look was inspired by a Depression-era promotional poster featuring Jenny Lake. The poster, and many other national park posters from that era, was reproduced by former Grand Teton National Park ranger, Doug Leen, in 1973. Leen worked for seven years as a Jenny Lake Ranger in the 1970s.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Brewpub,” Foundation President Leslie Mattson said. “This campaign marks a huge milestone for Grand Teton and the NPS and we appreciate their support. It’s a great opportunity to partner with a local business that is also interested in enhancing the experience at Jenny Lake for visitors and locals alike.”

Construction on the Jenny Lake trails is underway and reroutes will be in place throughout the summer. Visitors are encouraged to check in at park visitor centers for up-to-date information on closures, trail conditions, and alternate routes.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Brink of the Lower Falls Trail in Yellowstone Closed Due to Rock and Mud Slide

Heavy rain and snow over the weekend has caused a rock and mud slide across the Brink of the Lower Falls Trail in Yellowstone National Park, prompting rangers to close the trail until further notice. One rock that crashed down is nearly 7 feet tall and 8 feet long, effectively blocking the trail.

"We know this is a popular trail, and as soon as conditions dry out, we will work to clear the trail," said Canyon District Ranger Tim Townsend. "Right now the entire slope above the trail is still wet and unstable making it unsafe for crews to work in the area."

Due to the wet conditions, the trail crew is evaluating the area to determine the likelihood of more slides and the best course of action to reopen the trail. Visitors may still hike the North Rim Trail, but rangers ask that people respect the closure on the Brink of the Lower Falls Trail.

As the busy holiday weekend approaches, rangers remind visitors that many trails and other areas are saturated by recent rain and snow. Visitors need to be aware of their surroundings and footing throughout the park. Current trail condition reports are available at Yellowstone visitor's centers or backcountry offices.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Win a Two-Day Rafting Trip with Montana Raft Company

The folks over at Glacier Country Montana are giving away a guided two-day rafting trip for two (including food, gear and a guide) on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, which runs along the southern boundary of Glacier National Park. The trip will be outfitted by Montana Raft Company - one of the advertisers on our hiking trail website.

All you need to do to enter is to post a comment on Glacier Country's blog, and tell them who you would bring with you and why. All entries must be received by 6 p.m., MST on Wednesday, May 27th.

Good luck!


Rangers Save Man After Fall into Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park rangers saved a man from New York after he fell approximately 25 feet into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, a 71-year-old man was attempting to take a picture of a sign at Grand View at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone when he stumbled backwards over a stone barrier and into the canyon. After falling approximately 25 feet, he was able to stop himself at the top of a precipice by bracing his body and feet on opposing sides of a small crevice. A visitor that witnessed the man’s fall ran to a nearby parking lot to call 911.

The first two rangers on scene threw looped rope down to the man and secured him to a sign and tree at the top of the canyon. National Park Service employees and members of the Yellowstone Technical Rescue Team responded to the scene and set up a system of ropes and pulleys to carry out the rescue. One harnessed member of the Technical Rescue Team descended to the man’s location and secured him into the pulley system. The man was then able to walk to safety with assistance from the ropes, pulleys, and ranger.

According to staff on scene, the man was extremely lucky. The crevice and the angle of his body during the fall helped the man stop at the top of a 200 foot drop. A fall just inches to the left may have resulted in a fatality as the canyon wall is mostly steep loose rock.

The man was transported by ground ambulance to a helicopter ambulance for a possible hip injury. Seventeen Park Service staff assisted with this rescue.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Backcountry Skier Killed in Avalanche on Mount Moran - Companion Seriously Injured

A team of Grand Teton National Park rangers, emergency medical personnel, Teton County Search and Rescue (SAR) team members and a contract helicopter quickly swung into action Sunday morning, May 17th, to rescue four backcountry ski mountaineers who were involved in an avalanche on the northeast face of Mount Moran. Luke Lynch, age 38, of Jackson, Wyoming was killed in the avalanche and one of his companions, Stephen P. Adamson, Jr., age 42, sustained life-threatening injuries, prompting evacuation by helicopter. Two other companions, Brook Yeomans, age 37, with minor injuries, and Zahan Billimoria , age 37, who escaped injury, were also evacuated via helicopter as continuing avalanche activity and a steady cycle of snow squalls across the Tetons made the multi-staged rescue operation more challenging. All three survivors are local residents of Jackson, Wyoming.

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a 911 transfer call from Teton County at 9:30 a.m. and quickly contacted park rangers who immediately initiated a coordinated rescue operation. Because of the remote location on Mount Moran—and the report of multiple injured persons—park rangers quickly staged at, and responded from, the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache located at Lupine Meadows near the base of Teewinot Mountain. Rangers also summoned the Teton County SAR contract helicopter, piloted by Nicole Ludwig of Hillsboro Aviation.

The four ski mountaineers were ascending the steep Sickle Couloir on Mount Moran when a shallow wet slough avalanche released from above. The snowslide swept three of the mountaineers downslope for approximately 500 feet over rock and ice-covered terrain. Billimoria was able to move out of the heavier portion of the debris flow and was not caught in the slide. He quickly descended to his teammates, called 911, and began the difficult task of administering aid to his three companions. Light snowfall on the slopes above continued to cause additional sloughs that repeatedly hit the group, requiring Billimoria to work desperately to move Adamson and Lynch to a safer location. Although injured, Yeomans was able to descend slowly downslope under his own power.

After a slight lull in the recurring snowstorms over the Teton peaks, the Teton County SAR helicopter was able to deliver rescuers to the base of the couloir. A Teton County SAR member was short-hauled to the scene to aid in the evacuation of Adamson, who was receiving emergency care by park rangers on site and getting packaged for airlift from the mountain. Adamson and the Teton County SAR member were both short-hauled directly to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache where a team of medics and the park's medical director, Dr. Will Smith, provided additional emergency care before Adamson was transported by park ambulance to the Jackson Hole Airport. Upon reaching the airport, Adamson was transferred to a fixed wing air ambulance that flew him to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The Teton County SAR helicopter subsequently returned to pick up the two other avalanche survivors and transport them out of the backcountry. Additional flights were made to bring out Lynch's body, as well as the remaining park rangers and their rescue gear. All rescue personnel were safely out of the mountains by 3 p.m.

Skiers and climbers should be alert during this time of year for the possibility of wet avalanches. Slides can be shallow, and seemingly benign. However, they have the potential to sweep people off their feet into hazardous terrain below.


Trail Above Hidden Falls in Grand Tetons Will Be Closed in 2015

The most popular and highly used trail in Grand Teton National Park will require a major reroute this summer. For the 2015 season, all hikers headed beyond Hidden Falls to Inspiration Point - and destinations within Cascade Canyon and beyond - will need to use the horse trail that lies just north of the Jenny Lake westshore boat dock. The trail segment between Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point will be closed for most of the hiking season as park trail crews replace two wooden bridges over Cascade Creek and improve the steep and rocky ledge trail to Inspiration Point.

Day hikers who wish to reach only Hidden Falls will simply follow the customary trail leading upslope from the westshore boat dock for one-half mile. This foot trail will dead-end at Hidden Falls, however, and hikers will not be able to proceed beyond that point to Inspiration Point, one-half mile further.

Signs will be posted on Jenny Lake's westshore to direct hikers to their desired destinations: Hidden Falls or Inspiration Point, Cascade Canyon and beyond. Most of the backcountry trail work is expected to be completed by late fall.

In addition to the bridge replacement and trail improvements between Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, trail crews will also be working on the southwest lakeshore trail around Jenny Lake. This trail segment will be closed until early July. Hikers will need to take a parallel trail that rises above the lakeshore, providing a scenic overlook of the lake. This parallel detour trail is expected to have considerable snow pack for the next couple of weeks; therefore, hikers wishing to avoid the snow on this section of trail should depart from the String Lake trailhead.

The Jenny Lake area trail improvement work is part of the Jenny Lake Renewal Project being funded through a public-private partnership initiative with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, the park's primary fundraising partner.

Next summer, major work will be underway to improve the visitor services located throughout the south Jenny Lake area, including trail segments along the eastshore of Jenny Lake and all foot paths that lead from the parking areas to the lake.

To finance the Jenny Lake Renewal Project, the Grand Teton National Park Foundation is raising $14 million through its Inspiring Journeys campaign. Grand Teton National Park is contributing $3 million generated from entrance fee revenues.This public-private partnership effort serves as a signature project to highlight the National Park Service's 2016 centennial milestone. For information about the Foundation or its Inspiring Journeys campaign, please go to or phone Leslie Mattson at 307.732.0629.


Yellowstone Visitor Injured in Bison Encounter

This past Friday a Taiwanese girl sustained serious, but not life threatening injuries resulting from an encounter with a bison in the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone National Park.

Shortly after noon on Friday, a 16-year-old exchange student was visiting Upper Geyser Basin with her host family. While hiking near Old Faithful Geyser, the family joined a group of people watching a bison grazing adjacent to the trail. According to first hand reports, the group was somewhere between three and six feet from the bison. The girl turned her back to the bison to have her picture taken when the bison lifted its head, took a couple steps and gored her.

When responding rangers arrived on scene, there was a group of people less than ten feet from the grazing bison. The rangers, with assistance from bystanders, moved the girl a safe distance from the bison. The girl was transported to the Old Faithful Clinic, treated and then taken by helicopter ambulance for further medical treatment.

Visitors are reminded that Yellowstone wildlife is wild. Wildlife should not be approached, no matter how tame or calm they appear. Visitors must stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes. Bison can sprint three times faster than humans can run and are unpredictable and dangerous. Just because an animal may be near a trail or boardwalk does not mean it should be approached within the recommended safe distances. Visitors are advised to give the animals enough space and be willing to alter their plans to avoid interacting with an animal in close proximity.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wolverines in Glacier National Park

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park is hosting a brown-bag luncheon presentation about wolverines in the park by Dr. John Waller on Monday, May 18, from 12 – 1 p.m. at the park’s community building in West Glacier.

Dr. John Waller is the park’s carnivore ecologist and has been actively seeking to expand knowledge about wolverines in Glacier National Park. Wolverines are one of the least studied animals in the United States. Research indicates that Glacier National Park has the largest reproducing population in the lower 48 states.

The Glacier National Park Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center hosts brown-bag lectures throughout the year. Learn more about the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yellowstone Responds to Viral Bear Video

Earlier this week I posted a video taken by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks videographer Winston Greely. This short video, which has already gone "viral", captured footage of a black bear sow and her cubs crossing a vehicle bridge in Yellowstone National Park last week, with several tourists nearby. The controversy surrounding the video is with regards to the park visitors that put themselves in a situation where they became too close to the bears, thus endangering themselves, as well as the bears.

Yesterday, Yellowstone National Park published this video in response to that incident:


Best Place to View Wildlife: Moose-Wilson Corridor

In this short video, Grand Teton National Park provides an overview of the wildlife that can be seen along the Moose-Wilson corridor. The Grand Tetons are home to 61 mammals, and more than 200 species of birds. This film provides a quick overview of what you might see during your visit:

Many of the mammals and birds highlighted in this video can be seen while hiking. Our list of the Top 10 Hikes in the Grand Tetons provide numerous opportunities for spotting a variety of wildlife.

Furthermore, there are several trails located along the Moose-Wilson Corridor that provide outstanding opportunities for seeing wildlife. This includes the Phelps Lake Overlook, Granite Canyon, as well as the Aspen Ridge-Boulder Ridge Loop in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Grand Teton National Park to Raise Entrance Fees

As part of a larger National Park Service (NPS) initiative to update entrance fees in place since 2006, Grand Teton National Park plans to implement a new fee structure starting June 1, 2015. Additional revenues generated by this fee change are expected to reach $1.2 million. The added income will be used to fund trail improvements in the Jenny Lake area; restore and stabilize historic buildings for greater understanding and appreciation of the park's history and culture; expand youth outreach programs; and resurface park roads.

The proposed change underwent a 30-day public review and comment period at the end of 2014, and the new fee structure was approved after full consideration of impacts to visitors and local communities. Grand Teton received 59 official comments and park managers heard from nearly a dozen people during a public open house. While some people expressed concern for the fee increase, others expressed support of this change.

The new fee structure, effective June 1st, includes:

• $30 for a 7-day pass to only Grand Teton by private vehicle

• $50 for a 7-day pass to both Grand Teton & Yellowstone by vehicle

• $60 for a Grand Teton Annual Pass (valid one year)

• $15 for a 7-day pass to only Grand Teton by foot/bicycle

• $20 for a 7-day pass to both Grand Teton & Yellowstone by foot/bicycle

• $25 for a 7-day pass to only Grand Teton by motorcycle

• $40 for a 7-day pass to both Grand Teton & Yellowstone by motorcycle

• $80 for an Interagency annual pass to all federal fee areas (valid one year)

"When compared to other destinations and tourist attractions across the U.S., national parks provide outstanding opportunities to experience our American heritage and make lasting memories through an affordable family vacation," said Superintendent David Vela. "The relatively modest increase in entry fees is not expected to significantly alter park visitation, which reached an all-time high in 2014 with nearly 2.8 million recreational visits recorded."


Higher Entrance Fees For Yellowstone National Park This Summer

Starting on June 1, 2015, Yellowstone National Park will increase entrance fees for visitors in order to fund important resource protection and visitor facility projects within the park.

“We use our entrance fees to complete critical projects that benefit park visitors and our natural resources,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk. “Eighty percent of the revenue we collect stays right here in Yellowstone and funds projects including road repairs, campground upgrades, rehabilitation of park structures, accessibility improvements for people with disabilities, radio and utility systems improvements, native fish restoration and aquatic invasive species mitigation.”

The park estimates that the new entrance fees will generate $11 million of revenue per year, approximately $3 million greater than current entrance fee revenue.

The new fees are summarized here:

Vehicles: The entrance fee will be $30 per vehicle to visit Yellowstone National Park for 1-7 days. Grand Teton National Park will have a separate pass for $30. People visiting both parks can save $10 by purchasing a $50 two-park vehicle pass, also valid for 1-7 days.

Motorcycles: Motorcycles can enter Yellowstone for $25 for 1-7 days or both parks for $40.

Individuals: Per person fees will be $15 for Yellowstone or $20 for both parks.

Annual Passes: Yellowstone’s annual pass will be $60. This pass offers visitors in the local area an option that is less expensive than the $80 Interagency Pass. The Interagency Pass rates will remain the same: Annual ($80) and Senior ($10). Military passes and Access passes (for people with permanent disabilities) will remain free.

Yellowstone National Park is a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. In 2014, the park generated $543.7 million in economic benefits and directly supported over 6,600 jobs. Previous fee increases have had no effect on visitation levels. The last entrance fee increase in Yellowstone National Park occurred in 2006 when fees were raised from $20 to $25 for private vehicles.

Park managers proposed a new structure for entrance fees and reached out to stakeholders through a public comment period in November and December 2014. The park solicited comments via mail and online, held meetings in Cody, WY, Jackson, WY, and Bozeman, MT, and held conference calls with Congressional Delegation staff, county commissioners, concessioners, and commercial use authorization holders. The 2014 proposal included a 1-3-day pass that was eliminated based on public comment.


Monday, May 11, 2015

When Bears Get Mixed-up With Park Visitors

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks videographer Winston Greely recently captured this footage of a black bear sow and her cubs near Gardiner in Yellowstone National Park. As the FWP mentions on their Facebook page, this serves as a reminder that wildlife can be unpredictable. It's always best to respect wildlife and give them plenty of room to roam.

What do you think - did the ranger make things worse by yelling? It seems to have created a degree of panic among the bears:


Road Construction Projects Scheduled for Grand Tetons in 2015

Various road repair and rehabilitation projectswill be underway that may result in traffic delays throughout Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway during the 2015 travel season. Motorists should expect several of these projects to begin in early May.

Phase 3 Pathway: Construction of the shared-use pathway segment that runs parallel to Highway 89 from Moose Junction to Antelope Flats Junction (1.2 miles) will continue from May—October. Motorists should expect 15-minute delays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., 7 days per week from May 1 through September 30, and plan for extra time to reach their destination.

Highway 89, North Park Road, Teton Park Road and associated parking areas: Annual striping projects will be underway during June, with minimal delays possible.

Gros Ventre Road: An overlay project will take place from Kelly Warm Springs to the east park boundary in July, with 15-minute delays possible.

Highway 89 from Cunningham Cabin to the park's east entrance, Colter Bay Access Road and Leek's Marina: A chip seal project will take place in early August, with 15-minute delays possible.

Signal Mountain Road: will be closed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week from late June through July for hazard tree removal.

Kelly Road: An overlay project will be underway from the town of Kelly north to Antelope Flats Road in July, with 15-minute delays possible.

Moose Wilson Road: Periodic closures due to wildlife or routine maintenance between Death Canyon Road and the Granite Canyon trailhead may occur throughout the summer and fall seasons.

Wayside turnouts and parking areas:

· Blacktail Ponds Overlook, closed May—September to accommodate the phase 3 pathway project. In addition, periodic closures of the Practice Rocks parking area will occur during various times due to construction activities on the adjacent pathway segment.

· Colter Bay Visitor Center parking areas, expect restricted parking during late August.

· South Jenny Lake parking area, expect restricted parking during September.

Construction schedules may change or be delayed due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances. Visitors are encouraged to call the road conditions line at 307.739.3614, or stop at park visitor centers for current and specific information. The park's newspaper, Grand Teton Guide, includes a road construction map and can be found online at or picked up at any park visitor center or entrance station.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Glacier Seeks Public Comment on Preliminary Alternatives

Glacier National Park is encouraging public comment regarding five preliminary alternatives that have been developed for the Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan. These preliminary alternatives are conceptual at this time, and public comment will help in further development, modification and analysis of alternatives for the draft plan and environmental impact statement

For many years, especially during July and August, the Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor has experienced crowding and congestion along the road and at associated pullouts and parking areas. Many of the more popular trails in the road corridor are also congested, and impacts to vegetation and wildlife are increasing. Park visitation is on the rise and trends indicate it will continue to increase in the future. Increasing visitation will add to congestion and crowding, impacts to natural resources, and stress to facility infrastructure such as parking areas and restrooms. Additionally, a recent financial analysis has indicated that the portion of the entrance fees that support the shuttle system launched in 2007 are only paying for operations and maintenance and do not support acquisition of buses.

The preliminary alternatives outline various responses that park management could take to address issues along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Alternative 1 is the no-action alternative. Alternatives 2, 3 and 4 were developed using a more traditional approach of forecasting or predicting a certain future condition of high visitation and longer visitor season. They describe alternative ways the park would respond. Alternative 5 describes a flexible management approach to allow the park to respond to an uncertain future, and changes in transportation, visitation, economics, funding and climate.

The preliminary alternatives were informed by comments and concerns received from the public during the summer of 2013, research conducted by the University of Montana and socio-economic and transportation contractors.

The alternatives are not fully developed yet and are being shared at this time to get early public comment and response. The park has not selected a preferred alternative, nor completed the environmental analysis. The draft plan and environmental impact statement will identify a preferred alternative and analyze impacts of all alternatives, and is anticipated to be available for review and comment later this fall. Public meetings will be held at that time.

The preliminary alternatives are described in the project’s spring newsletter. Comments may be submitted online at this website or by mail to: Glacier National Park, Attn: GTSR Corridor Plan, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936. Comments are due by June 5, 2015.

For more information contact the park at 406-888-7800.


Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at Grand Teton

Visitors and local residents are invited to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)at Grand Teton National Park by joining a bird-watching caravan on Saturday, May 9th. Park Ranger Andrew Langford will visit several park areas that provide the best opportunities to locate, identify, and record birds as part of the annual North American bird count and annual IMBD observance.

Anyone interested in birds is welcome. The bird-watching excursion begins at 8 a.m. from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose and finishes by 4 p.m. at Christian Pond by Jackson Lake Lodge. This public activity is free and reservations are not required. Participants of the IMBD activity are reminded that park entrance stations are open;therefore a park pass is required for travel through any fee station.

Throughout the day, participants will take short walks at various locations, so those attending should wear comfortable shoes and bring a lunch, drinking water, warm clothing and rain gear. Bird field guides, binoculars and spotting scopes are also recommended items.

The 2015 IMBD theme, "Restore Habitat, Restore Birds," focuses on the loss and degradation of bird habitats around the world. Urbanization and climate change are two of the primary threats to bird populations. To foster conservation efforts, IMBD suggests ways to get involved in habitat restoration projects at home, in communities, and further afield. Each habitat illustrated on the 2015 IMBD poster provides a colorful view of the places migratory birds seek for nesting, wintering, or as stopover sites during migration. Grand Teton National Park provides critical habitat for a host of migratory birds, as well as year-round species. The arrival each spring of sandhill cranes, mountain bluebirds, western tanagers, meadow larks and other charismatic and fascinating birds brings delight to park visitors and local bird watchers alike.

As always, the annual theme is relevant to host organizations and participants throughout the world. Participation in Grand Teton's IMBD tour offers a chance to learn about the benefits of birds and their unique contribution to the health and beauty of the natural areas in northwestern Wyoming.

Observed each year in May to support avian conservation, IMBD serves as the hallmark outreach event for Partners in Flight—an international conservation program with a goal to reverse dwindling populations of migratory birds by bringing attention to factors that contribute to worldwide declines.

For more information about International Migratory Bird Day and the North American Migration Count, please call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399. To learn more about the IMBD organization, go to


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Go Higher This Summer

Backpacker Magazine Senior Editor and professional mountain guide, Shannon Davis, offers several tips for hikers who want to ascend higher. Whether your goal is to tackle Static Peak Divide in the Grand Tetons, or to summit Mt. Elbert, the highest mountain in Colorado, these useful tips will help you achieve your goals:

By the way, in the video, Shannon mentions the "Rest Step". This is a technique any hiker can use on steep terrain. You can click here for more information on how to use it.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Research Trapping of Grizzly Bears to Begin in Grand Teton

Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) plan to conduct scientific research and trapping operations within Grand Teton National Park as part of ongoing efforts required under the Endangered Species Act to collect data and monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution, as well as their food selection and other activities, is vital to recovery of grizzlies across the GYE. Trapping operations will begin Wednesday, May 6, and continue through June 30, 2015.

Trained professionals with the IGBST will bait and trap bears at remote sites across Grand Teton National Park. Once trapped, grizzly bears are sedated to allow wildlife biologists to radio-collar and collect scientific samples for study. All trapping and handling are done in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.

Trap sites will not be located near established hiking trails or backcountry campsites, and all sites will be posted with bright-colored warning signs around the closure perimeter. Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs. All backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas must obey the warnings and stay out of the closure area.

It is critical that all members of the public respect these warning signs.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to research and monitor bears across the GYE in a collaborative effort between federal land managers and state wildlife agencies. Gathering of critical data on these protected bears is part of a long-term research effort to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing recovery of the GYE's grizzly bear population.

For information on hiking in bear country, please click here.

Grand Teton Hiking

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bridger-Teton National Forest Authorizes Aerial Adventure Course at Snow King Mountain Resort

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has signed a Decision Memo authorizing the Snow King Mountain Resort to install an aerial adventure course on the mountain.

Snow King Mountain Resort proposed the aerial adventure course or “ropes” course to the Bridger-Teton in their 2014 Master Development Plan. In 2011, ski resorts on National Forest System lands were authorized to provide opportunities for families and guests of various ages and physical abilities to participate and to experience personal growth in a unique, natural, setting through activities such as zip lines and ropes courses in the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act (SAROEA). “The aerial adventure course fulfills the need to involve a broad spectrum of participants in outdoor recreation activities particularly as a family or group,” said Jackson District Ranger Dale Deiter. “There is a need at Snow King Mountain Resort to enhance and diversify recreational opportunities in order to improve its viability as a competitive, year-round resort,” he said.

The aerial adventure course will be suspended in the trees and utilize wooden supports and it will be accessed by the Rafferty ski lift. “There will be no drilling or bolting into the live trees,” said Deiter. Additionally, no new roads will be constructed with the installation of this course. The course will require Snow King to have all aerial adventure courses audited by an independent qualified inspector (FSM 7330.5) prior to public operation. At a minimum, the Forest requires the holder to have an annual operations audit conducted in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or equivalent industry standards and certified by the Forest Service before it will be open for use by the public.

“Scoping for this project started last year in April,” said Deiter. The Bridger-Teton received 53 comments on Snow King Mountain Resort’s proposal. The comments were mixed, both in favor and opposed to the project. “Some of the comments were related to concerns about noise from the course,” said Deiter, “so we insisted on several things to mitigate those concerns.” A few examples include that the Forest had a noise study conducted over the last year to make sure that the addition of the course wouldn’t affect the existing condition on the Forest. “We also have required that the operation of the aerial adventure course occur concurrently with the times that the ski lifts are already running,” Deiter said. Additionally, besides prohibiting operations before 9:00am, the Forest is also requiring state of the art rollers and cables which further reduce noise from the course operation. “We made changes based on the comments we received to the visual impacts as well,” said Deiter. The Bridger-Teton required that the course be moved 400 feet away from private land to further reduce not only the potential for noise, but visual sight-lines as well.

The course will impact 7/10’s of an acre of National Forest System land after Snow King orders it from the manufacturer and it is delivered and built on site,” said Deiter.

This Snow King Mountain Resort is located adjacent to the Town of Jackson, Wyoming in Teton County on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The ski area occupies approximately 450-acres on the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Grand Teton Hiking