Grand Teton to Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day

Mountain bluebird
April 30, 2009
Grand Teton National Park will celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) with a bird-watching caravan on Saturday, May 9, 2009. Park ranger naturalist Andrew Langford will visit areas throughout the park that provide excellent opportunities to locate, identify, and count birds as part of the North American Migration Count. The free activity begins at 8 a.m. in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Moose, Wyoming and finishes by 4 p.m. at Christian Pond near Jackson Lake Lodge. Reservations are not required.

Observed each year in May to celebrate and support bird conservation, IMBD serves as the hallmark outreach event for Partners in Flight—an international conservation program whose goal is to reverse declining populations of migratory birds by bringing attention to factors that may contribute to worldwide declines. Anyone interested in birds is welcome to participate in Grand Teton’s IMBD celebration and annual bird count. 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.

According to the IMBD Web site, the theme for 2009 is “Celebrating Birds in Culture.” This theme explores the historical and continuing relationship between native people and birds. Images of birds in cave art and on everyday objects—weavings and pottery, ceremonial objects, and hunting tools—highlight the role that birds have played in native peoples’ spirituality, stories, art, music, and dance. Birds were often considered a connection to the spirit world; it was believed that they carried messages to the spirits and, in the case of ducks, for example, they were thought to help the dead on the path to the afterlife. Native people invented the first duck decoys to help them hunt waterfowl, and many tribes are active today in bird and habitat conservation, protecting habitats, preserving wetlands, and reintroducing species to tribal lands.

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. Participants of the Migratory Bird Day activity are reminded that park entrance stations are open; therefore, they will need to present a park pass to travel through the entrance gates.

Road Construction Projects to Cause Traffic Delays during 2009 Travel Season

April 28, 2009
Road construction projects will be underway throughout Grand Teton National Park for much of the 2009 travel season, resulting in minor traffic delays at several locations. One road construction project will require a few overnight travel closures. For current and specific information, travelers are advised to call the park’s road information line at 307.739.3614. The park’s newspaper, Teewinot, includes a road construction map for further reference and can be found online at, or picked up at any park entrance station or visitor center.

The Snake River Bridge near Flagg Ranch Resort—2.5 miles south of Yellowstone National Park’s south gate—is undergoing major reconstruction. This effort will require a limited number of overnight road closures during May and June. Closures will occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. for one night in mid May and again for three nights in early June; further details on overnight closures will be announced at a later date.

Reconstruction of the North Park Road in Grand Teton, between Lizard Creek campground and Flagg Ranch Resort, began in 2008. During the summer/fall travel season, significant road construction activities will again be underway to widen and repave this road and complete the reconstruction work on the Snake River Bridge. To facilitate the extensive work required for the North Park Road project, nighttime closures may be possible between Lizard Creek and Flagg Ranch, on weekdays only, from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. between now and June 15. In addition to the overnight road closures, motorists are advised to expect daytime delays of up to 30 minutes for travel between Lizard Creek campground and Flagg Ranch Resort through the end of November.

Important note: Road closures are not anticipated to occur anywhere in the park after June 15th. Work on the North Park Road will cease on weekends during July and August—and during the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends—to allow for unfettered traffic flow during peak season travel times.

In addition to the North Park Road project, several other road construction projects in Grand Teton are planned for the upcoming summer months, and each will involve 15-minute delays in traffic. These projects include: Routine striping projects on all park roads during the month of May; an asphalt overlay on the road from Colter Bay to Leeks Marina scheduled for early July; an asphalt overlay on the road to the Teton Science Schools’ Kelly Campus during mid July; a chip seal project one mile north of Moose Junction to Cunningham Cabin along Hwy 89/191 scheduled for late August to Labor Day weekend; and a chip seal project from the park’s south boundary to one mile north of Moose Junction on Hwy 89/191 scheduled for after Labor Day through mid September. Road work on the Signal Mountain Summit Road is also scheduled, and this project will result in a closure to weekday traffic during much of June (weekend traffic will be allowed).

Efforts will be made to minimize any inconvenience to drivers using park roads, however, traffic will be held up for short periods of time as road improvement work is underway. These road construction projects are necessary to improve safety, as well as provide routine maintenance, for the many vehicles that use park roads throughout the year.

Roadwork schedules may change or be delayed due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances.

Multi-Use Pathway To Open in Late May

April 27, 2009
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that the new multi-use pathway within Grand Teton National Park will NOT open to public use until late May. The eight-mile-long pathway, which parallels the Teton Park Road from Dornan’s to South Jenny Lake, requires additional construction work to be completed before it can safely be used by the public. This work includes the final attachment of the Cottonwood Creek Bridge to its footers, stabilization of an uphill segment east of Windy Point, striping of the pathway surface, and the placement of all safety signs. In addition, the pathway is still covered by snowdrifts over much of its length. The pathway will remain closed to public use until all remaining construction work can be addressed, and users are requested to comply with this requisite closure. The opening date is dependent upon weather and construction progress.

As the new multi-use pathway gets phased into its first year of operation, visitors and local residents will have a unique opportunity to enjoy an area of the park not previously used in such a concentrated way. Base line studies are underway to assess the impacts that the pathway and its users may have on park wildlife and their activities and movements. These studies will be used in the planning efforts of future pathway segments.

Special rules and regulations apply to the different park areas that are open to non-motorized use, and the new multi-use pathway will be no exception. When the pathway finally opens, bicyclists, inline skaters, hikers, and other pathway users will be encouraged to follow some basic rules of courtesy and safety: Respect the rights of others; ride single file and stay on the right side of the pathway; use a bell, whistle or voice whenever passing others; wear appropriate protective equipment such as helmets and pads; observe bicycle speeds that are reasonable to the numbers and safety of other pathway users; don’t use motorized vehicles (exception of wheelchairs and other mobility impaired devices); be bear aware and maintain a safe distance from all wildlife; and obey the sunset to sunrise closure for protection of wildlife.

This new pathway bisects an important wildlife corridor not previously occupied by people on foot or on a bike; therefore, pathway users will need to follow special regulations designed to diminish adverse impacts to animals that use this area. For example, pets are not allowed on the multi-use pathway in Grand Teton National Park in order to reduce potential adverse impacts to park wildlife from the presence of domestic animals.

A formal announcement will be made after the remaining construction work has been completed and the pathway is finally open for public use. In future years, the pathway will simply open as the snow cover recedes—much like the hiking trails in the park become useable as snow melts.

Facility Opening Dates for 2009 Summer Season

April 27, 2009
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today the official opening dates for facilities throughout Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway for the 2009 season.

The following roads will open to motorized vehicles on Friday, May 1:
Teton Park Road
Moose-Wilson Road

The Antelope Flats Road reopened to vehicle traffic in mid April. The gravel road and parking area to the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve will remain closed to public entry until the road can sufficiently dry out and harden to handle vehicles, and work can be completed on the accessibility trail to the Preserve Center. The Grassy Lake Road, in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, will open June 1.

Motorists are advised to drive cautiously and be aware that wildlife are migrating throughout the park and crossing roads, especially during dawn and dusk. In addition, springtime repair work may be underway on any park roads. For current information, call the park’s road conditions hotline at 307.739.3614.

Entrance Stations
The Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations are open. Fee options include:
$12 -- 7-day permit for foot/bicycle entry into Grand Teton & Yellowstone national parks
$20 -- 7-day permit for motorcycle entry into Grand Teton & Yellowstone national parks
$25 -- 7-day permit for vehicle entry into Grand Teton & Yellowstone national parks
$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 fee areas on federal lands

Personal checks may not be used for payment at entrance stations, and personal identification is required for entering the park with any pass that requires a signature. Bicyclists are reminded that they must stop and show an entry pass before proceeding through the gates, just as vehicles are required to do.

Visitor Centers
The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is open daily, year-round. Other visitor information centers will open on the following dates:
Colter Bay Visitor Center -- May 9
Jenny Lake Visitor Center -- May 15
Jenny Lake Ranger Station -- May 16
Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center -- May 24
Flagg Ranch Information Station -- June 1

Ranger-led activities begin Monday, June 1. An activity schedule can be found in the park's newspaper, Teewinot, or online at

The following campgrounds will open:
Gros Ventre -- May 8
Signal Mountain -- May 8
Jenny Lake -- May 15
Flagg Ranch RV Park -- May 18
Colter Bay -- May 22
Colter Bay RV & Trailer Park -- May 22
Lizard Creek -- June 5

Fees for individual campsites are $19 per night, and hiker/bicyclist camping fees are $7.00 per site, at any of the following concession-operated campgrounds within Grand Teton National Park: Colter Bay, Gros Ventre, and Jenny Lake. Campsites at Lizard Creek campground run $18.00 per night and $20.00 per night at Signal Mountain. All these campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Group sites at Colter Bay and Gros Ventre campgrounds are available by reservation at a cost of $5.00 per person, per night. Reservations may be made by calling either 307.543.3100 or 800.628.9988. Tent sites, including showers, are available at Flagg Ranch Resort for $30.00 per night with a charge of $5.00 for each additional person over two. Reservations for these may be made by calling either 307.543.2861 or 800.443.2311.

Reservations can also be made for RV camping at either Colter Bay or Flagg Ranch RV Parks; additional fees are charged for RV campgrounds with hook-ups.

Camping is also available outside the park in nearby forest areas and at other public and private facilities.

Backcountry campsite reservations may be made until May 15 with a $25 non-refundable fee. Reservations can be made online at, by fax at 307.739.3438, or by mail to Grand Teton National Park, Backcountry Permits, P.O. Box 170, Moose, WY 83012. After May 15, all backcountry site permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

The following concessioner-operated facilities will open:
Signal Mountain Lodge -- May 8
Flagg Ranch Resort -- May 18
Jackson Lake Lodge -- May 18
Colter Bay Cabins -- May 22
Jenny Lake Lodge -- May 30

For additional information about activities and services within Grand Teton National Park or the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, please visit the park's Web site, stop by any visitor center and ranger station, or call 307.739.3300.

Grand Teton NP Receives $18.8 Million in Recovery Act Allocation

April 22, 2009
Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today in Washington D.C. that the National Park Service (NPS) will invest $750 million in nearly 800 projects to stimulate the economy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As part of this national initiative, Grand Teton National Park was awarded over $18.8 million for several projects that will address deferred maintenance, energy efficiency, and youth participation. The allocation of these funds will also help stimulate local and regional economies, while creating job opportunities.

The most significant project selected for Recovery Act funding in Grand Teton is the rehabilitation of the Moose Complex. This project will consolidate park operations, office space, and visitor services in order to improve health and safety for park employees and visitors, to increase energy efficiency and reduce the park’s carbon footprint, to provide for better visitor use at the Snake River boat landing and new multi-use pathway trailhead, and to combine park functions to achieve an overall reduction in building space. Planning and approval for this large-scale project have already been achieved, and the project is ready for bid announcement in the fall of 2009, with a contract award expected in January of 2010.

A separate project to replace a failed maintenance building at Colter Bay was also selected. In addition, funding was awarded to rehabilitate one of the park’s most popular trails—the Granite Canyon trail. As part of the Recovery Act, the NPS hopes to engage young people and develop future stewards of public lands. The Granite Canyon trail project will ultimately create approximately 25 new job opportunities for young people and provide an opportunity for them to learn about the NPS, Grand Teton, and natural and cultural resource management. People, who get a first job with the NPS, often become career employees that carry on the critical work of preserving our American heritage.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott stated, “The allocation of Recovery Act funds for national parks across the nation is welcome news and unprecedented in its scope. We appreciate this opportunity to help get the American economy working again, while at the same time addressing our maintenance backlog, energy deficiencies and resource conservation needs. These projects will have long-term benefits to park visitors and the greater Jackson Hole community, and we are proud to be playing an instrumental role in the recovery of the regional economy in northwestern Wyoming.”

The complete list of all National Park Service projects funded by the Recovery Act is online at

Grand Teton Celebrates Junior Ranger Day

A Junior Ranger recites her pledge with Ranger Nelson Turner
April 16, 2009
The National Park Service has declared Saturday, April 25, as National Junior Ranger Day for 2009. To mark this occasion, Grand Teton National Park will offer educational activities for children of all ages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming. Children who participate in two or more of the scheduled activities on Saturday will earn their Junior Ranger title and receive a Junior Ranger badge or patch.

A variety of activities and learning experiences will be offered to inspire children and encourage them to become partners in helping to preserve not only Grand Teton, but also national parks throughout the United States. Indoor activities will include instruction about climbing in the Teton Range, a scavenger hunt to explore the state-of-the-art exhibits in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, an Animal Olympics competition where children can test their skills against the abilities of certain wildlife species, and a chance for children to don an actual ranger uniform. Outside, in the visitor center parking lot, children will have the chance to talk with rangers and explore a park ambulance, fire engine, patrol car, plow truck, and other equipment that rangers typically use to protect the park and its many visitors.

More than 225 National Park Service sites across America will host youth-oriented activities on Saturday, April 25, for the 3rd annual National Junior Ranger Day. The official motto is “Explore, learn, protect: Be a Junior Ranger.” Acting National Park Service Director Dan Wenk said, “The Junior Ranger program is the National Park Service’s signature program for young visitors. Throughout the year, children earn badges and certificates after completing age-appropriate, park-related activities at their own pace.”

In addition to scheduled Junior Ranger Day activities, the National Park Foundation is asking youth across the nation to share ideas on how to protect and preserve America's National Parks through an essay contest. Children aged 9 to 12, with the help of a parent or guardian, have until May 1 to submit an essay of no more than 500 words on the theme, “Why are our national parks important to you and what is your best idea to protect our parks for the future?” The first prize winner will receive a $1,000 Visa gift card and the opportunity to direct $5,000 to support a favorite national park. To submit an entry online and view the official rules go to:

For further information about Grand Teton National Park’s Junior Ranger Day events, please call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399.

Bears Emerge From Hibernation in Grand Teton

Grizzly bears out of hibernation -- photo by Gary Pollock, NPS

April 14, 2009
Bears have emerged from their winter dens in the greater Jackson Hole area; consequently, local residents and park visitors need to be alert for their presence anywhere within Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Just this week, a grizzly bear was observed near the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center and the park’s headquarters building at Moose. Because this and other bears are again on the move and actively searching for springtime food sources, appropriate precautions for traveling in bear country must be taken.

Do not approach a bear under any circumstances. This is particularly important for situations involving bears near a carcass or other food source, and female bears with cubs.

When traveling in bear country, take precautionary measures such as carrying bear pepper spray and keeping it easily accessible for ready use. Please take the time to learn how to properly handle bear pepper spray and remember that having it with you is not a substitute for being alert. While enjoying recreational activities on the Teton Park Road, the Moose-Wilson Road, and in other backcountry areas within the park, visitors should always exercise good judgment by following recommended safety precautions: Be alert to surroundings, make noise, travel in a group, and keep food and garbage properly stored.

When bears leave their winter dens, they search for any food source that will help restore fat reserves lost during hibernation. Winter-weakened animals and winter-killed wildlife carcasses provide immediate sources of protein and are vigorously defended by hungry bears. As snow banks recede, bears also dig up and eat burrowing rodents and spring wildflowers. Historically, adult male bears emerge from hibernation by late March. Female bears, accompanied by their cubs, emerge later in the spring and are especially protective of their young. Any bear will defend a food source against perceived threats.

Visitors should report any bear sightings or signs of their activity to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible. This timely information will assist park staff in keeping visitors informed about recent bear activity, and in keeping bears away from unnatural food sources. Access to human food habituates bears and habituated animals can lose their fear of humans, which threatens the safety of both visitors and the bears themselves. Park visitors are reminded to keep food, garbage and other odorous items unavailable to bears by either storing attractants inside vehicles or disposing of garbage in a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster.

For further information on how to behave when hiking, biking, picnicking or camping in bear country, read the park’s newspaper, Teewinot, online at .

Ranger-led Activities Scheduled for April

April 1, 2009
Grand Teton National Park will mark the arrival of spring — and observe National Park Week and Junior Ranger Day — by offering various ranger-led activities throughout the month of April.

Strutting Grouse Tours provide an opportunity to acknowledge the seasonal change and the chance to watch a fascinating ritual as grouse congregate to perform animated mating displays on their traditional lek (mating arena) located just off the Antelope Flats Road. Ranger-led tours start bright and early at 5:30 a.m. on weekend mornings from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Depending upon snow conditions, the first tour is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 11; there will not be a tour on Easter Sunday. Other tours will be held on April 18-19, and April 25-26. Reservations are required and participants are advised to phone the Discovery Center at 739.3399 to reserve a spot and to get information about what to wear and bring along on these April tours.

National Park Week will be observed across the country during the week of April 18–26. The week-long celebration offers diverse opportunities for U.S. citizens and international visitors to explore and learn about America’s exceptional natural, cultural, and recreational heritage. National Park Week also salutes the many individuals, groups and associations that help to make the National Park System one of this Nation’s greatest assets. Additional information about National Park Week is available on the National Park Service Web site at

Junior Ranger Day will be celebrated on April 25, 2009. To encourage young people to learn more about national parks across America, Grand Teton park rangers will conduct special activities at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center and encourage participants to embark on a journey of discovery and fun. At the conclusion of the scheduled activities, children will earn their Junior Ranger title and receive a Junior Ranger patch or badge.

The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center provides educational opportunities in an engaging and relaxing atmosphere. Parents looking for family activities to enjoy while their kids are on the local school break may consider a visit to this Moose, Wyoming visitor center. The Discovery Center, open daily between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., offers the chance to learn about the history, people, landscape, and wildlife that make Grand Teton such a special landscape. Visitors can also experience the sights and sounds of the park in all seasons through the unique video river exhibit. In addition, a 24-minute high definition documentary film about the park is shown throughout the day in the Director’s Room.

Teton Park Road Recreation includes strolling, biking or inline skating along the 15-mile-long roadway between Taggart Lake and Signal Mountain without vehicle traffic. The road opens to vehicles for the summer season on May 1st.

For further information about the grouse watching tours, National Park Week, Junior Ranger Day, or the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, please call 739.3399.