Grand Teton to Waive Entrance Fees on Two Summer Weekends

Entrance fees to be waived on June 5 & 6 at Grand Teton NP
May 28, 2010
Grand Teton National Park will waive entrance fees for the weekends of June 5-6 and August 14-15 as part of a nationwide initiative directed by Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Secretary Salazar announced that the fee waivers are being offered as a way to encourage Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit their national parks and national refuges. The initiative was also designed to encourage people to connect with the great outdoors and engage in healthy activities. In addition to the June and August dates, entrance fees will be waived for National Public Lands Day on September 25, 2010.

Besides the fee-free weekend, Grand Teton park ranger naturalists will begin their summer schedule of programs on Monday, June 7. Ranger-led programs offer visitors the chance: to ponder the challenges of protecting public lands and natural resources during a “Conversation on Conservation” walk from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center to the Murie Ranch; to explore the beauty and geology of Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point during a ranger-led hike from Jenny Lake; to discover the role of geology and fire ecology by taking a “Fire and Ice” cruise from the Colter Bay marina; to learn about American Indian culture during a tour of the David T. Vernon Indian Art Collection at the Colter Bay Visitor Center and Indian Arts Museum; to understand the power of place by taking an “Explore the Preserve” hike at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. A full listing of programs can be found in the park’s newspaper, the Teewinot, posted online at A hard copy of the Teewinot can be picked up at any park visitor center or entrance station.

In addition to the regular summer schedule, the following featured programs will also be offered during June:
Monday, June 28: “Music in Nature Opening Concert.” Come enjoy a fusion of music and nature performed by a Grand Teton Music Festival string quartet at 12:30 p.m. on the terrace of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Outstanding natural beauty inspired both the creation of our national parks, and the creation of great music; in this spirit, the Festival quartet will perform classical music inspired by nature at various park locations throughout the summer, starting with the June 28th performance. All “Music in Nature” concerts are free and open to the public, and musicians play for 30 minutes. For a full list of performance dates, times and locations, call the Discovery Center at 307.739.3399.

Wednesday, June 30: "Climate Change: Observed Trends and Future Impacts on North America.” Grand Teton will host an informative program at 9 p.m. in the Colter Bay Amphitheater with National Weather Service Meteorologist Arthur Meunier. Meteorologist Meunier will talk about global warming and its impacts. He will address frequently asked questions and arguments about climate change and discuss the potential impacts to the Intermountain West and Wyoming. Meunier will also discuss mitigation strategies that might be available to reduce climate change impacts, and share interesting weather-related stories during his PowerPoint presentation. For more information, contact the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307.739.3594.

“Many Americans still face challenging economic times, and our hope is that a free-entry weekend at Grand Teton National Park will provide some measure of financial relief,” said Deputy Superintendent Bob Vogel. “We encourage families to introduce their children to a national park and make a memorable vacation by attending one of the ranger-led programs. Come and discover just how special a national park visit can be.”

American Indian Guest Artists Program for 2010

Colter Bay Visitor Center & Indian Art Museum on Jackson Lake

May 21, 2010
Each year, Grand Teton National Park sponsors a program for visiting American Indian artists at the Colter Bay Visitor Center and Indian Arts Museum. For the past 35 years, artists from diverse tribes have demonstrated their traditional and contemporary art forms, providing visitors an opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for, and understanding of 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, 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 dates and guest artists scheduled for the 2010 season are:

May 10-30:  Willie & Debbie LaMere (Shoshone) Beadwork & Flint Knapping
May 31-June 6:  Warren Yellow Hair (Lakota Sioux) Ledger Art, Drums, Bead & Quillwork
June 7-13:  Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho/Seneca) Ledger Art
June 14-20:  Guillermo Martinez (Tarascan-Apache) Drums, Flutes
June 21-27:  Andrea Two Bulls (Ogalala Sioux) Beadwork, Painting
June 28-July 4:  Charlotte Tendoy (Shoshone) Beadwork
July 5-11:  Ted Moran (S’Klallan) Northwest Coastal Carving
July 12-18:  Eddie Two Bulls (Ogalala Sioux) Painting
July 19-25:  Maynard White Owl (Nez Perce-Cayuse) Beadwork, Jewelry
July 26-Aug. 1:  Dolly & Bonnie Woodie (Navajo) Weaving, Clothing, Beadwork
August 2-8:  Willie & Debbie LaMere (Shoshone) Beadwork, Flint Knapping
August 9-15:  Jola LeBeau (Eastern Shoshone) Beadwork
August 16-22:  DG House (Cherokee) Painting
August 23-29:  Paul Hacker (Choctaw) Flutes, Knives, Pottery
August 30-Sept 5:  Josie Bronco (Paiute) Beadwork
September 6-12:  Clyde Hall & Nancy Nacki (Shoshone) Bead & Quillwork
September 13-19:  Patricia Two Bulls (Ogalala Sioux) Beadwork
September 20-26:  DG House (Cherokee) Painting
Sept. 27-Oct 4:  Andrea Two Bulls (Ogalala Sioux) Beadwork, Painting

Volunteer Ambassadors Needed for Pathway

Pathway ambassadors help patrol Grand Teton's multi-use pathway.

May 17, 2010
Grand Teton National Park is recruiting for volunteers interested in serving as ambassadors for the multi-use pathway that extends from Dornan’s in the Moose area to South Jenny Lake. Volunteer ambassadors will patrol the eight-mile-long paved pathway on foot, bicycle or roller blades to meet and greet other pathway users and offer information about the “rules of the road,” as well as provide emergency assistance in the event of an accident, injury, or equipment malfunction.

For anyone interested in joining the Grand Teton pathway ambassador program, an orientation and mandatory training session is scheduled for Thursday, June 3, at 9 a.m. To learn more about this opportunity or sign up as a participant in the program, contact Sara Petsch, volunteer coordinator for the pathway ambassadors program, at 307.739.3397.

Volunteers who choose to become a Grand Teton pathway ambassador will join a cadre of park employees who are trained to educate people about how to safely and responsibly use this popular new route. Through a gentle informal approach, volunteer ambassadors will also provide proactive information regarding protection of park wildlife and other resources. In addition, volunteers will be available to help anyone who may require first aid or need a minor bike repair. Ambassadors will also tally visitor statistics for documentation of pathway use.

While in volunteer status on the pathway, official ambassadors will wear a National Park Service jersey, vest, or other recognizable and authorized clothing. These appropriate clothing items will be supplied by Grand Teton National Park.

Annual Roadside Clean-up in Grand Teton

Park staff cleared away old fence during 2009 spring clean-up.

May 17, 2010
Grand Teton National Park employees will join with park partners and concessioners to conduct the annual spring clean-up on Thursday, May 20 from 8 a.m. to noon. Park staff will pick up litter along roadsides, turnouts and parking lots. Anyone driving through Grand Teton during Thursday morning should be alert for people walking along the roads and slow down, or give clean-up crews a wide berth. Slow moving and parked vehicles may also be encountered.

Each year before the summer season is in full swing, park and Grand Teton Association employees—along with staff from the Grand Teton Lodge Company, Signal Mountain Lodge, Triangle X Ranch, and Flagg Ranch Resort—set aside a day to remove trash and unsightly debris from roads and turnouts to beautify Grand Teton before visitors arrive.

"Although park employees and concessioners traditionally take this time to ‘spruce up’ Grand Teton before the summer tourist season, anyone can contribute to keeping roadsides clean by taking the time to place litter in the garbage cans and dumpsters located throughout the park. This simple and responsible act also helps reduce the chance that bears might get unintended food rewards,” said Acting Superintendent Bob Vogel.

The Craig Thomas and Colter Bay visitor centers and bookstores, as well as the interagency communication center and law enforcement patrols, will continue normal operations while the clean-up work is under way.

John Wessels to Serve as Interim Superintendent at Grand Teton NP

May 13, 2010
Acting Intermountain Region Director Mary Gibson Scott announced today that John Wessels, associate regional director for Business and Technology at the National Park Service Intermountain Region, will serve as interim superintendent at Grand Teton National Park for the next two months. Wessels will begin his temporary assignment on May 17 and lead the park through mid July when Gibson Scott returns from her temporary post at the regional office in Denver, Colorado. Deputy Superintendent Bob Vogel, serving as Grand Teton’s superintendent for the past two months, will resume his previous duties when Wessels arrives.

Wessels brings a wealth of experience and background to his interim assignment at Grand Teton. He recently completed a detail as acting deputy superintendent for Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California, and previously served as the acting assistant director for Business Services at the National Park Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. Wessels’ current responsibilities at the regional office encompass financial, acquisition, information systems and concessions business management supporting 92 national park units spread across eight states from Montana to Texas.

“John will provide great leadership and guidance for Grand Teton as the park launches into its busy summer season,” said Acting Regional Director Mary Gibson Scott. “He brings a distinctive skill set that will serve the park well until my return in mid July, and I am confident that the local community and our many partner organizations will welcome John’s fresh perspective and park operations expertise.”

Wessels began his federal career 25 years ago as a presidential management fellow, working for the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C. He moved to the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado where he worked as administrative officer and supervisory computer scientist for ten years prior to joining the National Park Service 2001 as regional comptroller.

Wessels’ academic background includes master’s degrees in Public Finance and Computer Science from Carnegie-Mellon University and Regis University, respectively. He also currently serves as adjunct professor of Business and Information Systems for Regis University in Denver. Wessels lives in Denver with his wife Mary and their children, Grace and Jack.

Prescribed Fire Project Update

May 13, 2010
Weather permitting, Teton interagency fire personnel and Grand Teton National Park natural resource managers plan to burn a 310-acre Elbo East unit on Saturday, May 15.

This unit is part of a 4,000-acre native rangeland restoration project along Grand Teton’s east boundary with the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The Elbo East burn will be conducted in lieu of the planned Elbo West burn that was originally schedule for this spring. Park personnel discovered a sharp-tailed grouse lek (a mating arena) on the Elbo West burn site, postponing the burn until grouse are no longer using this breeding site.

This project involves a multistage effort to convert pasture land back to native vegetation as part of the 2007 Bison and Elk Management Plan for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park.

Located southeast of the Teton Science Schools’ Kelly campus and Ditch Creek Road, the Elbo East burn unit was an irrigated hayfield prior to the 1970s. Despite a decades-long recovery time, non-native grasses and a host of noxious weeds still dominate the area.

Firefighters will only ignite burn units when favorable weather and fire behavior conditions exist. Smoke will be evident during the day of the burn and may persist for several days after, especially in mountain valleys during early morning and evening hours.

Local residents and visitors should be aware that minimal traffic restrictions may occur during the burn for safety concerns and fire equipment access.

Road Construction Scheduled for 2010 Season

Road crew lays down new asphalt surface
on Signal Mountain summit road
May 3, 2010
The official summer season in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway generally begins with the May 1st opening of the Teton Park Road and Moose-Wilson Road to vehicle traffic. The arrival of summer also means that road construction projects resume or start anew throughout the park and parkway.

Of note, the access road leading to the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve from the Moose-Wilson Road, as well as the parking lot, will remain closed to public entry until the gravel surfaces can sufficiently dry and harden to handle vehicles. Parking along the Moose-Wilson Road within a mile of the Preserve entrance gate is not allowed, so hikers wishing to reach Preserve trails will need to temporarily use the parking area for Granite Canyon trailhead.

The multi-phase North Park Road project from Lizard Creek Campground to Flagg Ranch Resort will begin again, resulting in
30-minute delays weekdays through July 15. There may be some weekend work taking place on this road project.

An asphalt overlay project on the Teton Park Road from Jackson Lake Junction to North Jenny Lake Junction has already begun and delays of up to 30 minutes are expected from mid May through the month of August. The Signal Mountain boat ramp and access road will also receive an asphalt overlay, resulting in 30-minute delays through the month of August.

The five-mile Signal Mountain Summit Road will be closed for road work from Monday through Thursday—but open to vehicles on Friday, Saturday and Sunday—during the month of June.

When weather permits during May, and continuing through early June, Highway 26/89/191 will be striped from the park’s south boundary to Cunningham Cabin. All other roads and parking areas in the southern portion of the park, including South Jenny Lake parking area, will also be striped during this time. In addition, the Snake River Bridge at Moose will be painted during May and early June. These road and bridge projects may cause 15-minute delays.

Finally, the Antelope Flats Road from Highway 26/89/191 to Mormon Row Road will receive an asphalt overlay in late July, resulting in
15-minute delays.

For road construction updates, please refer to the online map at  or phone the road information hotline at 307.739.3614. Information on Yellowstone road conditions is available at 307.344.2117.

For park information or additional road updates, please call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399 or the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307.739.3594 (after May 8).