ROD Signed for Jackson Hole Airport Agreement

Jackson Hole Airport is located within Grand Teton NP

December 28, 2010
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Jackson Hole Airport Agreement Extension has been signed by National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels. The ROD authorizes a 20-year extension to the term of the existing 1983 agreement between the Jackson Hole Airport Board and the United States Department of the Interior (DOI).

Under this ROD, the current airport agreement will be extended through the addition of two 10-year options, allowing the Jackson Hole Airport Board to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding requirements and maintain certification for passenger air service in northwestern Wyoming in the future. The ROD also amends the existing 1983 agreement to strengthen the requirements of the Airport Board to work cooperatively with the National Park Service (NPS) on efforts to further mitigate and reduce effects of the airport on park resources.

The Jackson Hole Airport is located on 533 acres of federal land within Grand Teton National Park and currently operates under an NPS administered agreement that authorizes its operation through April 27, 2033. Under FAA regulations, an airport must either own its land or have more than 20 years remaining on its lease or agreement in order to remain eligible for grants from the FAA. Without an extension of the 1983 agreement’s term, the airport would lose its eligibility for Airport Improvement Program funding in April of 2013—20 years before the agreement expires. Grants from the FAA may cover up to 95 percent of eligible costs for airfield capital improvement or repair projects that enhance airport safety, capacity, and security, or for projects that address environmental concerns. Over the past decade, this FAA program has funded almost $28 million in projects at the Jackson Hole Airport. Similar funding will be needed to enable the airport to maintain its necessary certification and provide continued commercial air service.

In 2005, the NPS initiated a process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to address a request by the Jackson Hole Airport Board to extend the term of their use agreement. Environmental impacts associated with the alternatives defined in the Jackson Hole Airport Extension/ Final Environmental Impact Statement were thoroughly analyzed in accordance with the requirements of  NEPA, the NPS Management Policies 2006, and the NPS Director’s Order #12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis and Decision Making. All public comments were taken into consideration before the record of decision was prepared and signed.

“Through an extensive review and careful application of the NEPA process, we have determined that extending the current Jackson Hole Airport agreement serves the visiting public, ensures continued commercial air service to Jackson, Wyoming, and appropriately maintains the vital NPS mission to protect valuable park resources,” said Intermountain Director John Wessels.

“While this decision ensures that airport operations continue into the future, it significantly strengthens the commitment by the NPS and Airport Board to mutually work together to mitigate impacts to park resources to the greatest extent possible,” said Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott.

The ROD, which documents the decision and rationale, along with the Jackson Hole Airport/FEIS, is available online at the PEPC website at The document is also available on the park’s website at

Winter Activities to Begin in Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park becomes a mecca
for winter recreation & scenic splendor

December 10, 2010
Activities for the 2010/11 winter season begin on Wednesday, December 15 in Grand Teton National Park. The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center (12 miles north of Jackson, Wyoming) is open year-round and winter hours run from to daily. The Discovery Center will be closed on December 25, to observe 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:

$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 begin Sunday, December 26 at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. This 2-hour activity is offered every day at 1:30 p.m., and previous experience is not necessary. Snowshoes are provided for a requested donation of $5 for adults and $2 for children, 8 years or 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 website , or call the avalanche hotline at 307.733.2664.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities in the park. Most trails are skier tracked, but not groomed. The Teton Park Road (TPR) is a designated winter trail, open to non-motorized use in winter. The TPR gets intermittently groomed for cross-country touring and skate skiing from the Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain. Grooming operations operations began Thursday, December 9, 2010. Severe winter storms or park emergencies may preempt the trail grooming schedule on occasion. Important reminder: Snowshoers should walk adjacent to the groomed ski trail, as snowshoes ruin the grooved track set for skiers’ use.  

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 website at or visit the Discovery Center in Moose, Wyoming. Winter wildlife closure areas include:

Snake River floodplain from Moran to Menor's Ferry 
Buffalo Fork River floodplain within the park
Kelly Hill and Uhl Hill 
Static Peak and Prospectors Mountain
Mount Hunt areas (refer to park's X-C ski brochure)

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 plowed roadways. 

The unplowed TPR is open to visitors who wish to walk, snowshoe or ski with their leashed pet. Dogs are restricted to 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 or Signal Mountain. Please keep dogs off the groomed ski tracks as a courtesy to other trail users.

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. Some pet owners have left used bags along the side of the road, and when these bags become buried in snow, they cause problems for rotary snow plows during the spring road opening.

Please note that allowing pets on the TPR is a provisional program that may be discontinued at any time. 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 or on Grassy Lake Road in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway (JDR Parkway).

Snowmobilers may use 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.

On Jackson Lake, snowmobiles must meet National Park Service air and sound emissions requirements for Best Available Technology (BAT). Before operating a snowmobile in Grand Teton, review the regulations and approved BAT machines online at, or stop by the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

Snowmobiles may also use the Grassy Lake Road in the JDR Parkway for recreation. The BAT machine requirement does not apply to snowmobile use on the Grassy Lake Road between Flagg Ranch Resort and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

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

Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/ EA Launched

Colter Bay Visitor Center was built in 1956
& the Indian Arts Museum opened in 1972

December 6, 2010
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that the National Park Service (NPS) has initiated a comprehensive review of the visitor services provided at Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park. The NPS intends to prepare an environmental assessment and develop a management plan for the long-term operation of the Colter Bay Visitor Center and other park-provided visitor services in the Colter Bay area. A principal objective of the review will be to determine the appropriate management of the David T. Vernon Collection of American Indian Art—one of Grand Teton National Park’s significant and irreplaceable cultural resources currently housed at the visitor center. Public scoping has begun, and interested persons are invited to provide ideas, concerns, and comments on this broad planning initiative.

The Colter Bay Visitor Center is located on the eastern shore of Jackson Lake, approximately 28 miles north of Moose, Wyoming, and 18 miles south of the park’s shared boundary with Yellowstone National Park. The original visitor center was built in 1956 and the Indian Arts Museum addition—built to house the David T. Vernon Collection of American Indian Art—opened to the public in 1972. The Colter Bay area is a popular destination for overnight and day users to Grand Teton, as well as for visitors traveling to or from Yellowstone. The area seasonally offers a complete range of services, facilities, and opportunities to experience the park’s spectacular scenery, wildlife, educational programs, and recreational activities.

Due to its age and deficient condition, the old visitor center building does not meet museum standards for the preservation, display, and interpretation of the David T. Vernon Collec­tion of American Indian Art. In addition, the building does not meet life safety and accessibility standards, and it is inadequate for basic administration, inter­pretation, or visitor service needs. Furthermore, the build­ing requires costly repairs and is no longer financially or environmentally sustainable.

Visitor facilities at Colter Bay are open for the summer season (May to September) and heated restroom facilities are open for winter visitors. This plan will not consider ex­panding NPS services during the winter season. The plan will address only NPS visitor services, facilities, and related infra­structure at Colter Bay; it will not address conces­sioner facilities at Colter Bay Village, which include an RV park, campground, general store and gift shop, restau­rants, guest cabins (log cabins and tent cabins), marina, stables, fuel station and convenience store, laundry and shower facility, and concession employee housing area.

The comprehensive review and plan will consider various options for how visitor services will be managed and how operational needs will be met in the Colter Bay area in the years to come. The scoping newsletter is available for review online at A copy of the newsletter can be downloaded through this website, and comments can be provided electronically online. The website will also provide regular updates on the project, including additional public involvement opportunities. To be most useful in this early planning stage, please submit comments on or before December 31, 2010.

Partnership Project Provides 1945 Aerial Images of Jackson Hole

Aerial maps show changes from 1945 to 2009
on one selected area of Jackson Hole
December 2, 2010
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott is pleased to announce that aerial images of 1945 Jackson Hole that were stored in the park’s archives are now available for public access thanks to a partnership project between Teton Conservation District and Grand Teton National Park, along with assistance from the National Park Service Western Archaeological Conservation Center (WACC) in Tucson, Arizona and Greenwood Mapping, Inc. of Wilson, Wyoming. The project was funded through contributions by Teton Conservation District, Grand Teton National Park, Region 4 of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Elk Refuge, Teton County, Wyoming, and the Grand Teton Association—a cooperating association that supports both Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Robb Sgroi, conservation programs coordinator for the Teton Conservation District, and Kathy Mellander, geographic information systems (GIS) specialist at Grand Teton, collaborated with staff from WACC and Greenwood Mapping, Inc. to assemble numerous aerial photographs taken during 1945 and transfer them to a suitable format for better public access. Teton Conservation District also contracted with Aero-Graphics, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah to “geographically reference and mosaic” the original 1200 aerial prints into a single, seamless aerial map. This image can now be seen through an Internet link or from a DVD.

The composite aerial map is available at, where users can direct a web viewer to select a section of the image and perform simple functions such as zooming and panning to study different perspectives. Browsers should note that blank sections of the map will be filled with aerials from the same time period as they become available. Accessible to private sector and government agencies, as well as to the general public, the digitized 1945 aerial map may also serve as an important land use planning reference to identify and note land use changes between the 1940s and recent years.

The composite image is also stored on DVDs in .tif or .sid formats for users who have graphics or GIS software. DVDs can be obtained by contacting Teton Conservation District at 307.733.2110.

“We believe that the newly formatted image will provide an interesting window into Jackson Hole’s cultural past and allow viewers to see the old ranches and other landmarks that defined this landscape during the 1940s,” said Superintendent Scott. “We’re grateful for the financial support by the Grand Teton Association and the other major contributors who helped make this piece of history more accessible to the public, and we appreciate the cooperation from Robb Sgroi and other staff at Teton Conservation District on this a unique and illuminating project.”