Jenny Lake Boating, Inc. Selected for Award of Concession Contract at Grand Teton National Park

December 18, 2007

The National Park Service (NPS) selected Jenny Lake Boating, Inc. to provide boat shuttle service, scenic interpretive boat tours, and boat rentals on Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park under concession contract GRTE022-08. NPS Intermountain Regional Director Michael D. Snyder made the announcement today, December 18, in Denver, Colorado. The contract becomes effective as of January 1, 2008, with a term of 10 years.

Jenny Lake Boating, Inc. was the current provider of boat shuttles, boat tours, and rental services under the terms of a 5-year concession contract that took effect in 2002. Jenny Lake Boating, Inc. was given a one year extension to provide visitor services through the 2007 summer season, during which time the NPS issued a prospectus soliciting proposals for a new concession contract. The NPS accepted proposals for this contract opportunity through August 6, 2007.

“We are pleased that Jenny Lake Boating, Inc. was awarded a new concession contract by the Regional Office,” said Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott. “They have provided outstanding visitor service throughout the term of their previous contract, and their current proposal for the new contract confirmed their exceptional commitment to safety, protecting park resources, and providing quality visitor experiences,” remarked Superintendent Scott. “We look forward to the next ten years while continuing our positive working relationship with Jenny Lake Boating, Inc.”

Jenny Lake Boating, Inc.’s proposal was selected under the provisions of 36 C.F.R. §51.16(c). The National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 made a number of changes in how concession contracts are awarded with the intent of insuring quality visitor services, protecting park resources, and enhancing the competitive contract process for NPS concession contracts.

The NPS solicited offers for this business opportunity and received four offers. A review team of industry experts and NPS employees analyzed the proposals based on criteria specified in 36 C.F.R. Part 51.

Guidelines used to evaluate the proposal can be found at:


Winter Season Activities Begin in Grand Teton National Park

December 17, 2007

In Grand Teton National Park, activities for the 2007/08 winter season begin on Wednesday, December 19. The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center (12 miles north of Jackson, Wyoming) is the only visitor center that is open year-round in the park; winter hours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Discovery Center will close for December 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

A Single Day Pass is available to winter visitors at the Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations. This winter-season permit allows a one-day entry into Grand Teton at a cost of $5 per vehicle. The single day pass is valid only in Grand Teton and cannot be used for entry into Yellowstone. Winter visitors may choose to purchase one of the following other options for entry:
$15 One-day Pass valid for snowmobile entry to Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway
$20 Seven-day Pass valid for snowmobile entry to Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway
$25 Seven-day Pass valid for single vehicle entry into Grand Teton and Yellowstone
$50 Grand Teton/Yellowstone Annual Pass valid for one year entry into both parks
$80 Interagency Annual Pass valid for one year entry to all federal land management fee areas

Ranger-led snowshoe hikes will begin December 26 at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. This 2-hour activity is offered every day at 2 p.m. and previous experience is not necessary. Snowshoes are provided for a requested donation of $5 for adults and $2 for kids aged 8 years and older. Reservations are required and can be made at 307.739.3399.

Backcountry users and mountaineers planning to stay overnight in the backcountry must get a non-fee permit before their trip at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Permits are not required for day users. To obtain weather forecasts and avalanche hazard information, stop at the Discovery Center, visit the backcountry Web site , or call the avalanche hotline at 307.733.2664.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities in the park. Trails are skier tracked, but not groomed. The Teton Park Road (TPR) is a designated winter trail, open to non-motorized use only. During the winter season, the unplowed TPR will be intermittently groomed for cross-country touring and skate skiing from Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain. Severe winter storms or park emergencies may preempt the trail grooming schedule on occasion.
Important reminder: Snowshoers should walk adjacent to – and not on top of – cross-country ski tracks.

Skiers and snowshoers are not restricted to established trails; however, for protection of wildlife, they are required to observe closure areas from December 15 to April 1. To obtain trail maps, closure locations, or winter information, go to the park’s Web site at or visit the Discovery Center in Moose, Wyoming. Winter wildlife closure areas include:

Snake River floodplain from Moran to Menors Ferry near Moose
Buffalo Fork River floodplain within the park
Kelly Hill and Uhl Hill
Willow Flats
Static Peak
Prospectors Mountain
Mount Hunt areas (see the park's cross-country ski brochure for descriptions)

Leashed pets are allowed on the park's plowed roads and turnouts, the unplowed Moose-Wilson Road, and the Grassy Lake Road. Pets are not allowed in the backcountry, which includes all other park areas beyond the defined roadways.

The unplowed TPR will be open to visitors who wish to walk, snowshoe or ski with their leashed pet. Dogs are restricted to the multi-use portion of the TPR winter trail, and must be restrained at all times on a leash no longer than 6-feet in length. Dogs must also be leashed while in the parking areas at Taggart Lake and Signal Mountain. Please remember to keep dogs off the groomed ski tracks.

Mutt Mitt stations are in place at the TPR trailheads to dispense plastic bags for pet waste; trash receptacles are also available for disposal of used bags. Pet owners are required to clean up their pet's waste and properly dispose of the bags in the receptacles provided. In recent winters, some pet owners have left used bags along the side of the road; these bags become buried in snow and cause problems for rotary snow plows during the spring road opening. If pet owners do not comply with the rules and regulations—especially with regard to pet waste disposal and leash rules—it is possible that pets will be prohibited from the TPR in the future.

Dog sleds are not allowed on the Teton Park Road. However, dog sleds are allowed on Grassy Lake Road in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.

Snowmobilers may use the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (CDST) after snow conditions permit its opening. This trail runs through both Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, and the Grassy Lake Road in the JDR Parkway. Snowmobile operation hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The CDST will open once enough snow has accumulated to allow grooming for safe passage along the route. In addition, the CDST opens in coordination with the State of Wyoming's portion of the trail which provides access into the park through the Moran Entrance Station. Trail information is available through a recorded message by calling 307.739.3683.

Snowmobiles may also be used on the frozen surface of Jackson Lake for the purposes of ice fishing only. A Wyoming State fishing license and appropriate fishing gear must be in possession.

Please Note: Snowmobilers are required to use only approved best available technology (BAT) machines on the CDST and on Jackson Lake. Before operating a snowmobile in Grand Teton, please review current snowmobile regulations and approved BAT machines online at, or stop at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

For further information about winter activities in Grand Teton National Park or the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, please visit the park’s Web site at


Study to Begin on the Teton Range Population of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Interagency News Release
Grand Teton National Park
Wyoming Game and Fish
Bridger-Teton National Forest

December 11, 2007

Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will begin an interagency study of the Teton Range bighorn sheep population in cooperation with a graduate student from the Fish & Wildlife Coop Unit at the University of Wyoming. The Teton Range herd occupies high elevation habitat that spans across federal lands on both the park and forests. This study will provide valuable information for interagency partners about the health and future of the herd.

The agencies have contracted with wildlife capture professionals to place GPS (Global Positioning System) collars on 20 female bighorns. In order to access the sheep in their remote range, animals will be netted from a helicopter, quickly fitted with a collar, and released on site. The GPS collars are programmed to periodically record vital location data as the animals move across their range throughout the year. After two years, the collars will automatically drop off. Biologists will then recover the collars via radio-telemetry and download the data to computers, providing detailed information about habitat selection, travel routes and other factors (i.e. lamb production and survival) that are critical to ensuring the long-term survival of this bighorn population.

Winter is the best time to capture and collar bighorn sheep, and capture operations are scheduled to begin this week, as weather permits. Consequently, local residents and visitors may see low flying helicopters in the vicinity of Granite Canyon, Death Canyon, and northern portions of the Teton Range, as the operation takes place.

The Teton Range bighorn sheep population is Wyoming’s smallest and most isolated native herd, numbering just 100-125 animals. Federal and state biologists have been concerned for many years about the long-term survival of this particular herd. Due to a loss of historic low-elevation winter range, the herd now lives year-round at high elevation in the Teton Range, where because of their small population they are vulnerable to a single event—disease, harsh winter weather or avalanches—that could quickly reduce their numbers and lead to potential extirpation of the herd. Although broad scale information is available about bighorn sheep seasonal distributions, further detailed information on habitat selection, travel routes and movements is urgently needed and critical to the herd’s long-term persistence.

Growing recognition of the questionable future for this bighorn sheep population led to the formation of a Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group in 1990—a group comprised of representatives from Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee national forests, and Grand Teton National Park, as well as several individuals with expertise in bighorn ecology who are affiliated with non-governmental organizations.

Previous efforts to improve the Teton Range herd’s survival included seasonal closures of sheep winter ranges to reduce disturbance impacts during an especially stressful time of year, and the retirement of domestic sheep allotments in forest locations on the western slopes of the Teton Range. Although progress has been made in reducing some of the threats to the long-term survival of Teton Range herd, uncertainties still remain regarding their current distribution, and whether bighorn sheep avoid areas of human activity. Consequently, there is a critical need to further assess habitat selection patterns and general population status of this isolated sheep herd.

Local Artists Create Ornaments for the Official White House Holiday Tree

November 30, 2007

First Lady Laura Bush invited Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, among other national park units, to provide special ornaments for this year’s official White House Christmas tree. The 2007 White House tree is the centerpiece of elaborate decorations that pay tribute to the beauty and individual character of national parks while celebrating the theme of “Holiday in the National Parks.” In response to Mrs. Bush’s request, Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott selected two acclaimed local artists—Jim Wilcox and Greg McHuron—to paint specialty ornaments for the White House tree.

“It is an amazing honor for the National Park Service to be selected as the theme for the White House holiday decorations by the President and Mrs. Bush,” said National Park Service Director Mary Bomar. “Each ornament on the magnificent 18-foot Fraser fir was designed by an artist selected by the park. These ornaments tell the stories of our parks, just as our parks tell the stories of our nation,” said Bomar.

The “Holiday in the National Parks” ornament artists joined Mrs. Bush at the White House in Washington, D.C. for a special reception as she unveiled the tree to begin the holiday season on Wednesday, November 28. The tree, located in the Blue Room, displays artistic ornaments representing the country’s 391 National Park Service sites.

As part of the official invitation to participate in this year’s national parks theme, each park was allowed to select an artist to paint or decorate a large gold ball ornament about the size of a grapefruit. Any medium that did not alter the size and shape of the ornament was allowed, and the subject was to be the most recognizable feature representing the individual park. These original works of art will become part of the White House permanent ornament collection.

Jim Wilcox painted an ornament depicting Grand Teton National Park’s iconic scenery. Wilcox, namesake and founder of the Wilcox Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming, is a well-known painter of dramatic landscapes that often focus on the beauty and tranquility of the Teton Range and the park. Once a high school art teacher, Wilcox decided to pursue his craft full time following a successful show of his paintings at Jackson Lake Lodge. Working in oils and acrylics, Wilcox uses light to create different moods as he strives to capture the Teton scenes that first inspired him. Wilcox has received numerous awards for his art over the years.

Greg McHuron created an ornament portraying the charismatic wildlife found in the park and parkway. McHuron, a plein-air artist who works outdoors in oils and watercolors, moved to Jackson in 1973 to be close to the subjects that inspire his art; he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art in 1968 and has been painting full time since 1975. McHuron’s work has been displayed in numerous major shows and purchased for prestigious collections, including the National Museum of Wildlife Art. McHuron has received many awards and been featured in trade magazines such as Art of the West Magazine, Wildlife Art News, and Southwest Art Magazine. His work is on view at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center and National Museum of Wildlife Art. A spectacular 13-piece wildlife mural painted by McHuron can be seen at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center on North Cache in Jackson, Wyoming.


Grand Teton National Park Acquires Inholding Property

November 19, 2007

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that the National Park Service (NPS) recently completed the acquisition of a key inholding property located on the Moose-Wilson Road, approximately five miles south of park headquarters. This acquisition was made possible through funding provided under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA) of 2000. The 1.4-acre tract was identified as a top priority for acquisition, in part because it lies within an area that provides important habitat for a diversity of wildlife species.

Formerly known as the Hartgrave property, this land parcel originally consisted of approximately 4.4 acres. The property became available for purchase in 1995; however, the NPS was unable to acquire it at that time due to a lack of available federal funds. Gerald T. Halpin bought the property in order to protect it from potential development until the NPS could obtain funds for acquisition. In October of 2005, the NPS obtained Land and Water Conservation Funds to purchase approximately three acres of the Hartgrave property, leaving 1.4 acres in private ownership. FLTFA funds allowed the NPS to purchase the remaining privately-held acreage.

FLTFA offers land management agencies in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture a “vehicle” by which private lands within areas administered by these agencies can be purchased from willing sellers. FLTFA funds are generated through the sale of public lands that are administered by the Bureau of Land Management and identified for disposal in land use plans. FLTFA provides a more efficient, streamlined process for land sales, and consequently benefits the nation’s public lands; it also helps to promote consolidation of ownership of public and private lands in a manner that allows for better overall resource management and protection. This federal authority for land transactions is scheduled to expire in July of 2010 unless extended by Congress.


Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Opens to the Public

November 6, 2007

Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve has been conveyed to the National Park Service and is now part of Grand Teton National Park. The Preserve—valued at approximately $160 million—is a remarkably generous gift from Laurance S. Rockefeller to the citizens of the United States and the world. Mr. Rockefeller intended for the Preserve to serve as a catalyst to inspire appreciation and reverence for the beauty and diversity of the natural world, and also foster individual responsibility for conservation stewardship. While exploring the Preserve, visitors will have the opportunity to seek solitude and contemplation while finding new ways to strengthen their connection with nature. The Preserve’s trail system is now open for public access; however, the Preserve Center (building) will not open to the public until the summer of 2008.

Located in the southwestern corner of Grand Teton National Park on the shore of Phelps Lake, the 1,106-acre Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve is one of the most pristine, scenic, and wildlife-rich areas of the park. Formerly known as the JY Ranch, the property was part of approximately 35,000 acres of valley lands purchased by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. during the late 1920s and early 1930s for the purpose of protecting and enlarging Grand Teton National Park.

The JY Ranch was originally purchased in 1906 by Lewis Joy and is considered to be the first true dude ranch in Jackson Hole. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the ranch in 1932, intending to include it in a sizeable land donation to the park. Over the years, however, it became a treasured family retreat and remained private property. Laurance inherited the JY from his father, and in the 1990s arranged for the transfer of a significant portion of the ranch—some 2000 acres—to Grand Teton.

Mr. Rockefeller announced his intention to gift the remaining JY lands to the park in a ceremony held at the ranch on May 26, 2001. In remarks made during the event, he expressed his desire for the Preserve to become a place of physical and spiritual renewal, and he stated his hope that the property would serve as a model for achieving balance between preservation and public use. He further declared that it would demonstrate how citizens—working in partnership with their government—can achieve important goals. On behalf of the American people, Vice President Dick Cheney and Department of the Interior Secretary Gale Norton committed that the U.S. Government would honor the specific wishes and vision of Mr. Rockefeller.

In preparation for transfer of the gift—and at the direction of Mr. Rockefeller—all roads, buildings, utilities and other structures were removed in order to restore the area’s natural landscape and re-establish natural systems. Approximately half of the structures were donated to Grand Teton for reuse as employee housing and related facilities; the remaining buildings were relocated to a new family property outside the park. A portion of this work had begun before Mr. Rockefeller passed away at the age of 94 on July 11, 2004.


With the seasonal closure of the Moose-Wilson Road to vehicles on November 1, visitors may only access the Preserve grounds by hiking or biking on the Moose-Wilson Road to reach the Preserve’s entrance gate and parking area located approximately 1.75 miles north of the Granite Canyon trailhead and about .5 mile south of the Death Canyon turnoff. Those who bicycle in, can lock their bikes to the racks located in the parking lot before setting out to hike the eight miles of established trails to reach Phelps Lake and the surrounding Teton Range. Visitors are encouraged to stay on the designated hiking trails; and bikes are not allowed on the Preserve’s trails.

The Preserve has adopted the values of "Leave No Trace." Visitors will be required to pack out all trash, and be respectful of wildlife, to minimize impacts to the natural environment. No restroom facilities will be available for use during the fall and winter months; however, these facilities will be available during the summer months.

Although leashed pets are allowed in the company of hikers and bikers on the Moose-Wilson Road, pets are not allowed on the Preserve’s trail system, just as they are not allowed on any other trails within Grand Teton National Park.

Trail maps of the Preserve will be available at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose.


Grand Teton National Park Seasonal Road Closures Reminder

October 26, 2007

Grand Teton National Park will implement an annual winter closure to vehicular traffic on certain park roads beginning Wednesday evening, October 31, 2007. Jackson Hole residents and park visitors are reminded that vehicle closures apply to the following roads: the length of the Teton Park Road between Taggart Lake parking area and the Signal Mountain Lodge parking lot; and the Moose-Wilson Road between Granite Canyon and Death Canyon trailheads. In addition to the annual road closures, the Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations will be temporarily closed during the month of November and early December; motorists will still be able to drive through the entrance stations during this time, however. All entrance stations will reopen December 19 for the winter season.

Annually, the Teton Park Road is not plowed after the first of November. During the time that the Teton Park Road remains free of snow, visitors are welcome to use the roadway for non-motorized recreation such as walking, bicycling, and in-line skating. Once the snow begins to accumulate on the roadbed, winter season activities such as cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snow-shoeing become possible.

Pets are permitted on park roadways; however, pet owners are reminded that dogs must be leashed and under physical restraint at all times. Dog owners are required to clean-up their pet’s waste, and mutt mitt stations are provided for that purpose.

In addition to road closures in Grand Teton National Park, the Grassy Lake Road within the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway will close for the winter season with the first major snowstorm.


Fence Removal Project Scheduled

October 18, 2007

Grand Teton National Park staff will join volunteers from the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and employees of Cloudveil on Friday, October 19, to remove about a three-mile section of old buck and rail fence which parallels Highway 26/89/191 from Gros Ventre Junction to the south end of Blacktail Butte. This community service project will improve wildlife movement across park lands and reduce costs associated with maintaining an aging and decaying structure.

For the past several years, park employees and volunteer groups have been removing barbed wire fences and other fence remnants from in and around the Antelope Flats area of the park. This scheduled fence removal project continues recent efforts to reduce impediments to wildlife movements across park lands, and eliminates old fencing that no longer serves a purpose for human activities in the area.

Cloudveil and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation have teamed up to assist Grand Teton National Park in completing this landscape improvement project. Volunteers interested in helping with this, or other improvement projects, may contact Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation fence removal volunteer coordinators at 307.733.1582.

Buck and rail fences associated with designated historic districts in the park will remain as part of the cultural landscape. Other buck and rail fences that serve as a point of demarcation for public access, or confine stock animals to authorized grazing allotments, will also remain in place.


Live Broadcast to Air for Electronic Field Trip

October, 11, 2007

Grand Teton National Park initiated a free electronic educational outreach program titled “Tails from the Tetons” in mid September. As part of the online field trip, a live broadcast is scheduled to air on Tuesday, October 16, at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. The live broadcast can be viewed via satellite feed, or online at Satellite coordinates for the live broadcast can be obtained by referring to the online address.

The “Tails from the Tetons” web-based learning experience is designed for teachers, students, and anyone interested in gaining knowledge about plant and animal communities found in the park. The program was developed in collaboration with Ball State University, Best Buy Children’s Foundation, and the National Park Foundation. Teton Science Schools has also become a partner in this educational outreach project, and Journey School students will be participating during the live broadcast.

Teachers who wish to have their students participate in the electronic field trip and live broadcast may go to the Web site and simply click on the participate button to fill out the registration form. For free participation, check the Best Buy Children’s Foundation Scholarship icon.

The online course consists of three components: a Web site; several Webisodes; and the live broadcast. The Web site consists of two parts: a teacher site that provides lessons for classroom use that are aligned with national standards in geography, science, social studies and technology; and a student site that contains an interactive learning game that invites the user to become a new wildlife biologist at Grand Teton National Park. Webisodes began on September 17, with a new episode presented each week for a total eight weeks. Webisodes involve a series of online videos where National Park Service rangers present programs with interesting information about Grand Teton’s ecosystem—from geologic forces to plant and animal adaptations. At the end of each episode, rangers help students discover how to identify animals from the signs they leave behind.

For further questions about this learning opportunity, please call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399.


Grand Teton National Park Initiates Temporary Closure along Jackson Lake

October 4, 2007

Grand Teton National Park Acting Superintendent Bob Vogel announced today that a temporary closure has gone into effect to protect archeological resources along the lakeshore of Jackson Lake north of Leek’s Marina. To protect these sensitive resources, a closure area has been established and posted along both the western and eastern shorelines at the north end of Jackson Lake.

The surface waters of Jackson Lake remain open to boating activities. Boat ramps at Signal Mountain and Leek’s Marina are still open for launching; however, conditions are marginal due to low water. Boaters cannot beach their watercraft along any of the exposed shorelines at the north end of the lake. The temporary area closure is posted with “closed to public entry” signs, which specifically prohibits all human entry by any means. Park rangers patrol these areas and provide public information about the closure to assist visitors with alternative lakeshore access. Violation of the closure can result in a citation and prosecution.

The National Park Service reminds visitors that it is illegal to disturb archeological sites and removing any artifacts is prohibited.