May 28, 2008
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that park staff and federal highways officials are closely tracking and monitoring the erosion of the north bank of the Gros Ventre River as it relates to a portion of the Gros Ventre Road between the junction with Highway 26/89/191 and the Gros Ventre Campground. Due to the spring runoff and recent rains, the Gros Ventre River is swollen and flowing fast. The force of the river’s current is gradually eroding away a section of river bank near to the road surface. At present, 24 feet of roadside remains between the river bank and the edge of the road itself.
Park rangers have placed bright orange traffic cones along the segment of road that is subject to bank erosion. Motorists should heed these traffic cones—which mark the undercut bank of the Gros Ventre River—and not drive onto the road shoulder at that location. Pedestrians should also avoid walking along the road shoulder near the traffic cones. As a prudent measure, visitors should refrain from walking along the banks of any fast-moving rivers or streams throughout the park.
Federal highways engineers recently surveyed the situation with park officials and have provided recommendations for a contingency plan in the event that the river bank continues to slough off and compromise the stability of the road surface. They are also assisting the park in determining future options for reducing additional bank erosion.
The deepening river channel and swift current will determine what can be safely accomplished in the near term. Park officials are frequently monitoring the situation and analyzing remediation options that can be scheduled for a later date when river flows have subsided.