Injured Climber Evacuated by Helicopter from Teewinot Mountain

June 24, 2008
Grand Teton National Park rangers and an interagency contract helicopter evacuated an injured 16-year-old girl from Teewinot Mountain on Tuesday, June 24, at 2:15 p.m. The young woman, from New Mexico and visiting Jackson Hole with her family, slipped on snow and tumbled about 100 meters near the Worshipper and the Idol (elevation 11,000 ft.) while descending the east face of Teewinot with two other climbers. She suffered injuries to her hip, elbow and ankle during the fall as well as lacerations on her forehead and hands. She was wearing crampons and a helmet at the time of the fall; she was also carrying an ice axe.

An Exum guide, who was taking a client up the mountain, first made contact with the injured girl at approximately 10:15 a.m. The guide stabilized her, provided emergency medical assistance, and contacted park rangers for assistance. Due to the nature of the injuries, the location of the accident, the difficult terrain, and the prolonged time an evacuation by foot would take, rangers made the decision to evacuate the injured climber by helicopter.

Two park rangers were flown from Lupine Meadows and inserted by the short-haul method to the injured party’s location on Teewinot; a third ranger was then inserted with medical equipment and a rescue litter. When there is no suitable spot to land a helicopter, the short-haul method is used to place rescue personnel, who are suspended below the helicopter by a rope, into a location near the patient; the injured person is then secured into either an evacuation suit or a rescue litter to be airlifted for a short flight to another landing spot where the ship can safely touch down. In this case, rangers provided medical care to the patient and placed her into a rescue litter. She was then flown in tandem with an attending ranger to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache on the valley floor at 2:15 p.m., where a waiting park ambulance transported her to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for further medical care.

This marks the first major search and rescue operation in Grand Teton National Park this summer.

Serious Vehicle Accident Results in Two Fatalities in Grand Teton National Park

June 24, 2008
A head-on collision between a passenger car and a semi truck hauling a car transport trailer resulted in the death of two people in Grand Teton National Park. The accident occurred Monday afternoon, June 23, at 4:30 p.m. on Highway 26/89/191, approximately 1.5 miles south of the Moose junction.

Teton Interagency Dispatch received a report of the accident from the Teton County Sheriff’s Office shortly after it occurred. Approximately 10 park rangers and emergency medical personnel along with Jackson Hole Fire/EMS personnel immediately responded to the scene, and several Teton Interagency fire staff helped with traffic control at various intersections near the accident site. In addition to the park response, several Teton County sheriffs and a Wyoming Highway Patrol officer assisted with traffic control and an accident reconstruction investigation. Other mutual aid assistance included a Teton County ambulance, and the Teton County rescue vehicle with an extrication team, responding from Jackson, Wyoming.

Details on the cause of the accident will become available after the investigation is completed. The two deceased persons were visitors from Belgium. Their identities are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Due to the serious nature of the accident and the position of the semi truck and its trailer, Highway 26/89/191 was closed from 4:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Traffic was rerouted through detours along the Antelope Flats Road and the Moose-Wilson Road.

American Indian Guest Artists Program in Grand Teton National Park

June 23, 2008
Every summer, Grand Teton National Park sponsors an exciting program for visiting American Indian artists at the Colter Bay Visitor Center and Indian Arts Museum. For the past 33 years, artists from diverse tribes have demonstrated their traditional and contemporary art forms, providing visitors an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of—and appreciation for—American Indian art and culture.

Artists participating in the program represent tribes from across the United States. Among the art forms demonstrated are painting, weaving, pottery, beadwork, decorative gourds and musical instruments. Guest artists exhibit daily, Monday through Sunday, from approximately 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Colter Bay Indian Arts Museum. Artists also offer their finished items for purchase. The 2008 schedule with dates and type of artwork demonstrated is:

June 23 – 29
Andrea Two Bulls
Oglala Sioux
Beadwork & Painting

June 30 – July 6
DG House

July 7 – 13
Ted Moran
Northwest Coast Carving

July 14 – 20
Eddie Two Bulls
Oglala Sioux

July 21 – 27
Shonto Begay

July 28 – Aug. 3
Aiona Anderson
Painting & Pottery

August 4 – 10
Paul Hacker
Flutes, Knives, & Pottery

August 11 – 17
Jola LaBeau
Eastern Shoshone

August 18 – 24
Willie & Debbie LaMere
Beadwork & Flint Knapping

August 25 – 31
Lela Teton & Josie Bronco

Sept. 1 – 7
Clyde Hall & Nancy Nacki
Beadwork & Quill Work

Sept. 8 – 14
Guillermo Martinez
Drums & Flutes

Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center Opens to the Public

June 21, 2008
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott and the staff of Grand Teton National Park, the family and associates of Laurance S. Rockefeller, former Assistant Secretary of State John Turner, and approximately 175 guests joined together on Saturday, June 21, 2008, for a dedication ceremony to mark the grand opening of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center. The new interpretive center—the first platinum-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building to be constructed in the National Park System—offers visitors a distinctive opportunity to learn about the natural world while exploring the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve property in Grand Teton National Park. Eight miles of woodland trails wind throughout the 1,106-acre Preserve; these trails have been open since November of 2007 when the property transferred to the National Park Service. The trail system is accessible year-round, and the new 7,500-square-foot Center will be open annually from May through September.

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve is a reflection of Mr. Rockefeller’s life-long commitment to making areas of natural scenic beauty accessible to the public. He strongly believed that nature has the power to restore and sustain the human spirit. It was his hope that, by experiencing this spiritual and emotional renewal, visitors to the Preserve would become aware of the importance of nature in their own lives and acknowledge their roles in acting as good stewards of the land.

During the Saturday ceremony, Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky said her father thought of “mind-body-spirit as one word,” because people would be “physically and emotionally renewed at the same time.” Clayton Wesley Frye, longtime senior associate of Mr. Rockefeller, stated that Laurance was the “intellectual father” of the Preserve, and he prioritized “removing the hand of man” to return the Preserve to its natural state. John Turner told of floating the Snake River with Laurance and Mary Rockefeller “on a beautiful fall day with blazing colors,” and having Mr. Rockefeller hint at his desire to return the JY Ranch to its natural condition. Turner went on to say that “Laurance hoped people would restore their spirits in the wilderness setting.”

Mr. Rockefeller also believed that managing natural areas requires a careful balance between preservation and public access. This balance is consistent with the mission of the National Park Service, which will manage the Preserve in such a way as to allow for public enjoyment of the place while preventing overcrowding and overuse of the trails and rest areas. In this way, the opportunity for visitors to experience the extraordinary beauty of the area will be available to future generations.

The primary visitor experience at the Preserve is hiking a network of trails that provides access to views of Phelps Lake and the Tetons, as well as other scenic and ecological features. This experience is supported by the newly opened Center, which orients visitors and provides a series of sensory exhibits designed to make visitors more aware of nature on many levels.

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center is situated to capture views of the Teton Range, and the interpretive experience within the building has been carefully choreographed to make visitors more aware of natural elements found on the Preserve. Visitors move through a series of sensory experiences linked with a poem by esteemed nature writer Terry Tempest Williams. These visual, auditory and tactile explorations include recordings of Mr. Rockefeller speaking about conservation, high definition nature videos, large-scale photography, and a soundscape room with nature recordings from the Preserve. There is also a resource room that provides a place for visitors to relax and learn about the Preserve. Comfortable seating, tables, chairs and a fireplace invite visitors to sit and explore books, albums and maps. The Center and restroom buildings were designed and constructed to be a model National Park Service facility by using the latest environmental technologies and sustainable techniques. A brochure explaining these attributes is available at the orientation desk in the Preserve Center.

The 8-mile trail network has been carefully designed to lead visitors on self-directed hikes to the most scenic and ecologically significant areas of the Preserve, including Lake Creek, Phelps Lake and the adjacent ridges. Visitors walking the 2.5-mile primary loop experience views of Phelps Lake and the Teton Range from a series of rest areas where they may sit and enjoy the views, observe wildlife and touch the water. Over 5 miles of secondary trails lead visitors through remote areas of the Preserve and to a series of overlooks along the glacial ridges. The network also includes a .3-mile accessible trail that provides an opportunity for visitors with limited mobility to experience the Lake Creek riparian community.

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve is the former JY Ranch and served as a longtime summer retreat for the Rockefeller family. Between July 2004 and May 2007, thirty buildings, as well as the roads, utilities and other structures were removed, and the developed areas were reclaimed to blend with the natural landscape. Approximately half of the structures, including the oldest residential cabins and dining and recreation buildings, were moved to a new family property outside Grand Teton National Park. The remaining structures were donated to the Park Service for housing and service facilities at several sites within the park. The extensive reclamation enhanced wildlife habitat, reduced non-native vegetation, and reconnected fragmented wetlands.
The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve is open to the public seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can call 307.739.3654 for information on programs or facilities.

For digital images of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center and property, please go online to and search for "Rockefeller Preserve."

Temporary Travel Closure Scheduled for Moose-Wilson Road Within Grand Teton National Park

June 16, 2008
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that a temporary travel closure will be in place on the Moose-Wilson Road within Grand Teton National Park from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. During the Saturday closure, through travel will not be possible on the Moose-Wilson Road between the gate at the Granite Canyon trailhead and the gate at the Death Canyon trailhead road. However, access to these popular trailheads and their parking lots will be available for those who wish to drive only to those destinations.

This temporary closure is related to a dedication ceremony for the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (LSR Preserve). The closure is being implemented to provide for the safe operation of shuttle buses that will be traveling to and from the LSR Preserve as they transport invited guests to the event from park headquarters at Moose. The buses are over-sized and unable to safely navigate the narrow road with normal two-way vehicle traffic.

To alert travelers of the expected one-day, 12-hour closure, electronic signs will be in place on Wyoming Highway #390 beginning Tuesday, June 17. Signs will also be placed at the junction of the Teton Park Road and the Moose-Wilson Road to inform local residents and visitors of the scheduled closure.

This temporary closure may inconvenience visitors and local residents who wish to drive the length of the Moose-Wilson Road on Saturday, June 21; therefore, motorists are advised to make travel plans accordingly and not expect to make a through trip on the Moose-Wilson Road during the June 21st closure.

In addition to the temporary travel closure on the Moose-Wilson Road, the parking area for the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve will be closed to all public entry from 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 19 through 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, in order to accommodate preparations for the dedication ceremony.

For further information, contact Roger Scott, public information officer for the dedication event, at (307) 739-3376.

Cattle Drive May Cause Minor Traffic Delay near Moran Junction

June 9, 2008
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that motorists may experience a minor travel delay along Highway 26/89/191 from Moran Junction to the Elk Ranch flats (one mile south of the junction) on Saturday morning, June 14, between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. The temporary delay will allow for the safe movement of cattle from the Pinto Ranch of Buffalo Valley to the Elk Ranch pastures, which lie south of Moran Junction and the Buffalo Fork River. Park rangers will provide traffic control during the cattle drive.

Pinto Ranch wranglers will drive a herd of about 250 cattle westward from the ranch using a right of way along Highway 26/287. When the cattle drive reaches Moran Junction, the animals will need to use the roadway to cross the Buffalo Fork bridge. At this point, motorists will likely experience a delay of 30–40 minutes while cattle clear both the bridge itself and a swampy area just south of the bridge.

To avoid the temporary road delay during the cattle drive, local residents and park visitors may choose to travel an alternate route through Grand Teton National Park using the Teton Park Road between Jackson Lake Junction and Moose Junction. Every effort will be made to reduce the time required for this travel delay and minimize any inconvenience to travelers who may be using Highway 26/89/191 to access Moran Junction during the Saturday morning cattle drive.

Grand Teton National Park officials requested that the Pinto Ranch shift their cattle from their historic, free-range Pacific Creek grazing allotment north of Moran to the fenced Elk Ranch pastures in order to minimize potential conflicts with predators living in the Pacific Creek drainage.

In accordance with the 1950 Grand Teton National Park enabling legislation, certain historic grazing privileges were retained. Since that time, the fenced and irrigated Elk Ranch pastures have been used for cattle grazing.

Firefighters to Gather for 10th Annual All Fire Day Training

June 9, 2008
For the past ten years, firefighters from three counties, as well as state and federal agencies, have started the summer wildland fire season with an integrated fire training exercise. On Saturday, June 14, about 150 firefighters from Teton, Sublette and Lincoln counties, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Wyoming State Forestry Division will gather at Hoback Ranches near Bondurant for the annual All Fire Day. Hoback Ranches homeowners are also participating this year, along with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Department, search and rescue, emergency management, animal control, emergency medical services, and the local American Red Cross chapter.

“All Fire Day 2008 is a collaborative approach to wildland fire training from all county, state and federal partners to improve interagency coordination and emergency preparedness,” said All Fire Day Operations Section Chief Steve Markason. “By conducting a fire operations scenario within a wildland-urban interface setting, the neighborhood has the opportunity to practice their wildfire response and evacuation plan in a realistic situation.”

All Fire Day will focus on a wildfire scenario that involves a Wyoming incident management team and line officers from the southern and western portions of the state, as well as firefighters who will work through a variety of drills, structure assessments and live fire exercises. Homeowners at Hoback Ranches will have the opportunity to participate in a mock evacuation and learn the steps to take in protecting their homes from wildfire. The exercises will take place, weather permitting.

“We made a conscious effort this year to involve homeowners and make sure they had all the necessary information to be prepared in the event of a wildfire,” said Deputy Operations Chief Willy Watsabaugh. “We know Hoback Ranches is in a high risk area for wildland fires. With the homeowners engaged in the exercise, they will have the opportunity to better understand firefighters’ perspectives when it comes to protecting homes in the wildland-urban interface.”

All Fire Day training was established in 1998 to provide opportunities for interagency fire personnel to complete field exercises that test skills. The exercises also promote safety and efficiency in wildland firefighting, while building relationships and better communication through increased agency coordination.

Media representatives are welcome to attend. Please contact Traci Weaver at 307-739-3692 or 307-690-1128 for more information.

Temporary Travel Closure Scheduled for Moose-Wilson Road Within Grand Teton National Park

June 2, 2008

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that a temporary travel closure will be in place on the unpaved segment of the Moose-Wilson Road within Grand Teton National Park from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 6. This temporary closure is necessary to prepare for and apply a dust abatement product to the gravel portion of the road from the Granite Canyon trailhead parking area for a distance of 1.5 miles north. The closure will prevent the ability to make a “through trip” on the Moose-Wilson Road for approximately 12 hours.

Although the temporary closure will inconvenience visitors and local residents who wish to drive the length of the Moose-Wilson Road on Friday, the dust abatement application will make future travel a safer and more enjoyable experience. By minimizing dust on this road, visibility will be improved and damage to nearby vegetation will be reduced. Local residents and park visitors are advised to make travel plans accordingly and detour away from the Moose-Wilson Road during the closure.

The product used for dust abatement is a slurry of magnesium chloride. It is the same product that is used to treat dirt roads in and around Jackson Hole. This product coats the road surface, but it can also adhere to the undercarriage of vehicles. Motorists who may drive this portion of the Moose-Wilson Road after it reopens on Friday evening may want to rinse off their vehicles to eliminate any residue.

Roadwork schedules may change, or be delayed, due to weather conditions or other extenuating circumstances.