Public Scoping Initiated for Historic Properties Management Plan

The Snake River Land Co. building, located near Moran Junction,
was used during filming of Spencer's Mountain in the early 1960s. 

January 31, 2011
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott invites the public to attend a meeting regarding the development of a comprehensive plan for management of Grand Teton National Park’s historic properties. The meeting will take place Tuesday, February 8, from 5–7 p.m. at the American Legion Post 43, 182 North Cache Street in Jackson, Wyoming. A short presentation on the historic properties will be followed by conversations with park staff to further inform participants about the scope of the plan and its objectives.

The Historic Properties Management Plan will provide general guidance for the administration of historic properties, and establish site-specific treatment for some locations. The plan will not re-evaluate historic properties currently used for visitor services, or for work space and housing by the park or its partners. Instead, analysis will focus on 14 historic properties that are currently without an identified use. Some of the properties may be listed as “in poor condition;” some may also be identified as having a high interest for the park, its partners, or the public. The properties include: 4 Lazy F Dude Ranch, Aspen Ridge Ranch residence and barn, Bar BC Dude Ranch, Geraldine Lucas Homestead/Fabian Place, Hunter Hereford Ranch, Leeks Lodge chimney, Luther Taylor historic district, Manges Cabin, McCollister residential complex, Moose entrance kiosk (historic building immediately east of the current entrance kiosks), Sky Ranch, Snake River Land Co. building, Wolff Ranch, and the upper Granite Canyon patrol cabin.

The plan will determine how each of these 14 properties should be managed and outline appropriate treatment: which could range from restoration or stabilization to removal of individual structures.

An increased emphasis on interpretation may be considered for some properties, including those already being used and maintained. The plan would guide the appropriate levels and means of interpretation related to the properties’ history, location, condition and use.

The plan will be adaptive, incorporating periodic evaluation of historic properties and their condition, as well as review of goals for park operations and visitor services.

For futher information about the Historic Properties Management Plan for Grand Teton National Park, please visit the park's planning website at Public comments on the plan will be accepted until March 11, 2011.

Special Activities on MLK Fee-Free Weekend

Big Dipper over Tetons during Full Moon
photo by Bob Hoyle, NPS
January 10, 2011
Grand Teton National Park—along with the 394 units of the national park system—will waive entrance fees during the upcoming Martin Luther King holiday weekend (January 15-17) as part of a nationwide initiative to encourage people to visit and experience the many wonders of national parks across America. To highlight the first entry-free weekend of 2011, Grand Teton ranger naturalists invite visitors and local residents to attend an Evening of Astronomy program at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, and join an early evening snowshoe excursion on the Teton Park Road. Both activities will take place on Saturday, January 15.  

The Evening of Astronomy program begins Saturday afternoon at
5 p.m. in the Discovery Center’s auditorium with a 45-minute interactive presentation titled: Rangers of the Lost Dark. Ranger naturalists will introduce visitors to the incredible dark skies of Grand Teton National Park and provide tips on viewing the night sky during winter. No reservations are required for this program.

The Evening of Astronomy will continue with a twilight ranger-led snowshoe walk beginning at 6:15 p.m. from the Taggart Lake trailhead, located four miles north of the Discovery Center. The snowshoe walk will offer a chance to explore Grand Teton’s magical winter landscape by twilight and learn about the unique characteristics that make this season so remarkable. For centuries, people have used snowshoes as a means of winter travel, and ranger-led snowshoe excursions are designed to introduce beginning and casual snowshoe walkers to the experience of a winter trek in the company of others. The snowshoe walk will traverse a level, three-mile roundtrip distance along the snow-covered Teton Park Road. The two-hour long activity does not require previous snowshoeing experience, and snowshoes are provided for anyone without their own. Reservations are required for this outdoor activity; please call 307.739.3399 to reserve a spot.

Those attending the twilight snowshoe walk should wear warm layered clothing, sturdy insulated boots, and a face scarf or ski mask, plus bring along an energy snack and water or hot beverage in a thermos. Headlamps and flashlights are required as essential safety equipment for any outdoor trek.

For a complete list of wintertime ranger-led activities and programs, please refer to the park’s newspaper, Teewinot, online at, or call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399.

Rangers Rescue Stranded Snowboarder & Snowshoers from Backcountry on Same-Day

January 9, 2011
Grand Teton National Park rangers and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrollers conducted a search and rescue operation for a stranded snowboarder in the backcountry of Granite Canyon during the early evening hours of Friday, January 7. Steven Sprague, age 20, from Rapid City, South Dakota, took a wrong turn and inadvertently entered Grand Teton’s backcountry after exiting an out-of-bounds gate at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at approximately 4:20 p.m. 

Sprague and his two snowboarding partners intended to traverse into Cody Bowl on Friday afternoon. They exited the out-of-bounds gate at the top of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and entered Granite Canyon, instead of turning south where they had planned to snowboard. Sprague’s partners, realizing that they were off course, attempted to alert Sprague by shouting at him to stop; however, Sprague was unable to hear his companions cries because he was wearing earphones for an iPod. Shortly after, Sprague’s companions alerted patrol staff from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort of the situation, and a search and rescue operation was initiated.

Park rangers used snowmobiles from Death Canyon trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road, and then mounted skis to access Granite Canyon. Meanwhile, patrol staff from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort skied into Granite Canyon from the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. Patrol staff were first to reach the stranded snowboarder at approximately 6:20 p.m. as rangers continued their ascent into the canyon. Sprague was in good physical condition, but was not prepared to spend the night in the backcountry as he did not have extra clothing, food, basic emergency gear or shelter. At approximately 10:30 p.m., park rangers transported Sprague and the ski patrollers by snowmobile to the Granite Canyon trailhead, where the group was then transported by waiting resort personnel to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.  

As rescuers worked to locate the stranded snowboarder, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call at approximately
5:50 p.m. from two visitors who had become disoriented while snowshoeing the Taggart/Bradley Lakes trail in Grand Teton National Park. Ross Trooien, age 26, from White Bear Lake, Minnesota and Gordon Mammel, age 25, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, became lost in the fading daylight and were unprepared to return to the trailhead in the dark. Park personnel were able to identify their location based on the men’s description and provide directions by cell phone, guiding Trooien and Mammel to the nearby AAC Climbers’ Ranch to await assistance. Park personnel arrived on scene at 6:50 p.m., and both men were safely escorted out of the backcountry, reaching the trailhead at 7:30 p.m.

Backcountry users are cautioned to be prepared with the knowledge, skills, and emergency equipment necessary to safely recreate in the park’s backcountry areas before attempting a winter excursion. Park rangers advise anyone recreating in the park during winter to bring along extra clothing, high energy snacks and water as emergency gear in the event that they are required to spend more time than anticipated in the backcountry. Rangers also advise people to consider their physical limitations and time restrictions when choosing s destination, and to bring a map of the area and know how to use it before setting out.

Park rangers also remind backcountry users to pay special attention to avalanche and weather conditions before entering remote areas outside of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundaries.

Grand Teton Recruits for 2011 YCP

2010 YCP crew hams for the camera
on trail to Surprise & Amphitheater lakes

January 4, 2011
Grand Teton National Park is recruiting participants for the 2011 Youth Conservation Program (YCP); the park plans to enroll 15-25 short-term positions. Thanks to generous donations made by donors through the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, this marks the sixth year that the park has offered this youth employment opportunity. Applications must be postmarked by March 21, 2011.

The YCP is a summer employment program for high school students, ages 16 to 19. YCP enrollees
develop an understanding of National Park Service (NPS) conservation ethics as they assist with critically-needed maintenance and rehabilitation on park trails and pathways. Participants work alongside NPS crew leaders and become familiar with NPS stewardship goals, while learning essential trail maintenance skills. YCP participants will work 30-50% of their time with several of the other park divisions (i.e. Science and Resource Management, Interagency Fire, Interpretation, and Visitor and Resource Protection). Students will also meet experts in all aspects of public lands conservation.

During the course of their day, YCP participants may answer basic visitor questions and serve as park ambassadors as they complete project work on some of the most visible, and most impacted, park trails. Most of the work will be focused on projects dealing with rehabilitation of trails and backcountry areas through activities such as brushing, hazard tree removal, and construction of water bars and drainage swales. In addition to the project work, environmental education programs and several recreational opportunities are also offered.

The 2011 YCP program will run for ten weeks, from June 20 through August 25. Previously planned commitments such as vacations, sports camps, etc., may be accommodated when possible. Participants must be at least 16 years of age by June 20, and live locally as housing is not provided. Applicants must also be United States citizens and students in good standing. Other qualifications include good team skills, a willingness to learn about Grand Teton National Park and its trail system, and the ability to work at a physically demanding job which may involve lifting 30-40 pounds. Wages for participants in the YCP program are set at $11.08 per hour.

As an extension of their mission to support new and innovative projects that add value to the park, the Grand Teton National Park Foundation provides funding for salaries, work boots, work pants, tee-shirts, and free transportation to and from Jackson for YCP participants. For more information about YCP and how to contribute to future YCP activities, or other Foundation programs, call Leslie Mattson at 307.732.0629, or email

To obtain an application or get further information about the 2011 YCP, please call Brian Bergsma in Grand Teton National Park at 307.739.3364, or write to YCP Program, GTNP, Drawer 170, Moose, WY 83012.  Applications are also available online at