Roads Open to Traditional Spring Activities

The Teton Park Road becomes a solitary & unique corridor
on which to ride a bike, take a hike or rollerblade during the month of April before vehicles are allowed to drive on it, beginning May 1.

March 28, 2011
Grand Teton National Park road crews recently used rotary snow removal equipment and plows to clear a substantial snowpack off the Teton Park Road that runs from the Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain Lodge. Consequently, non-motorized activities such as hiking, biking, and inline skating will be allowed on this segment of road starting Friday, April 1.

Although the Teton Park Road will open to non-motorized use, visitors should be alert for park vehicles that may occasionally travel the road for administrative purposes and for snow plowing operations that continue as a result of recurring snowstorms.

For the next two weeks, plows and rotary equipment will continue to work on the Moose-Wilson Road; anyone walking or cycling on this roadway should be extra alert for heavy equipment.

The Teton Park Road and Moose-Wilson Road will open to vehicle traffic on Sunday, May 1.

The Antelope Flats Road will open to vehicle traffic when conditions allow. While it was plowed in mid March, continuing snowstorms and windy conditions have caused new drifting and delayed its opening.

Leashed dogs are permitted on the Teton Park and Moose-Wilson roads, as well as other park roadways. Dogs are restricted to roads and turnouts—they are not permitted to travel beyond the roadbeds, or into the park’s backcountry, and pets are not allowed on the multi-use pathway in the park. Owners are required to keep pets on a leash (six foot maximum length). Mutt Mitt stations are in place at the Taggart Lake parking area and pet owners are required to use waste disposal bags to pick up after their dogs. 

As a reminder, entrance stations are operating and collecting fees. Fee options are as follows:

         $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
When entering the park using a pass, please be sure to bring personal identification. Bicyclists are required to stop and show a pass before proceeding through the gates, just as motorized vehicles are required to do.

Important Note: the multi-use pathway running from Dornan’s to South Jenny Lake will not be open for public use until the snow recedes naturally.

New this year is a self-serve fee station for pathway users. Bicyclists, rollerbladers and walkers will be required to stop and pay at this fee station and obtain an entry permit before proceeding on the path from the Moose entrance station.  

Backcountry Skier Injured during Avalanche in Granite Canyon

March 15, 2011

Grand Teton National Park rangers enlisted the help of the Teton County contract helicopter to rescue a backcountry skier who was injured during an avalanche on Tuesday morning, March 15.  Benjamin Shortledge, a 32-year-old Jackson resident, triggered an avalanche around 11:20 a.m. while skiing with friends on the northwest side of Cardiac Ridge in Granite Canyon. He received several injuries as a two-foot deep and 40-foot wide soft slab avalanche carried him about 400 feet down a slope near a feature known as Shady Lady.

Because of the remote location in Granite Canyon, the ski party could not get cell phone reception. Consequently, one of the Shortledge’s companions donned his skins and made his way back up the slope they had just skied in order to reach a saddle just northwest of Rendezvous Mountain from where a 911 call could be made. Teton County dispatchers received that call for help about 1:15 p.m. and in turn notified the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center in Grand Teton National Park. Rangers immediately contacted the Teton County Search and Rescue coordinator and requested assistance from their contract helicopter and pilot Ken Johnson. In the meantime, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrollers made preparations to ski into Granite Canyon from the resort boundary to help with the rescue. Two ski patrollers met Shortledge’s companion at the mountain saddle and the three of them skied to his location, arriving at approximately 2:30 p.m. The patrollers provided emergency care and prepared Shortledge for the arrival of the ship.    

Rangers aboard the County helicopter reached Shortledge at 3:28 p.m., and he was flown to the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. After the ship landed at 3:51 p.m., a Teton County ambulance transported him to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson. The remaining members of the ski party were also evacuated by air from Granite Canyon.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest avalanche report rated the avalanche danger on Tuesday as “low” for all elevations. However the advisory also stated, “Strong southwesterly to westerly ridge top winds have created isolated pockets of wind slab 6 to 12 inches deep at the upper elevations. Backcountry travelers could trigger these easily identifiable slabs in steep, wind loaded terrain.” For up-to-date avalanche forecasts, visit, or call the avalanche center at 307.733.2664.

While this rescue operation proceeded quickly and smoothly, it is important for backcountry users to realize that weather and other factors may prevent the ability of rescuers to effectively reach locations in the Teton Range to perform an evacuation. Anyone entering the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park should be prepared with appropriate emergency equipment such as avalanche beacons, extra clothing, water and high energy snacks, among other items. Such basic gear may make all the difference if an unexpected event happens and an unplanned night in the backcountry becomes a reality.

NPS Academy Designed for College Students

College students will learn about Park Service careers
during the NPS Academy at Grand Teton National Park

March 4, 2011
Grand Teton National Park is working in partnership with the Student Conservation Association and Teton Science Schools, an environmental education center, to launch an innovative program titled the National Park Service (NPS) Academy. The Grand Teton-based NPS Academy, scheduled for March 12-18, is structured as a week-long, alternative spring break program for college students with diverse backgrounds from across the United States. This program is part of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s 21st Century Youth Conservation Corp Initiative—a broad outreach effort designed to engage America’s youth with the great outdoors and help prepare the next generation of natural resource professionals.

College students attending Grand Teton’s NPS Academy will learn about the range of career opportunities within the Park Service through a variety of seminars, workshops, field trips and recreational activities. After successful completion of the spring break program, students will be placed into summer internships at a number of parks throughout the entire National Park System: national parks that range from Acadia in Maine to Mount Rainier in Washington, from the Grand Canyon in Arizona to Glacier in Montana and many others in between.   

Prominent Park Service professionals will address the students and help to inspire them toward future NPS careers. Special guest speakers will include former NPS Director Robert G. Stanton (1997-2001), currently serving as a senior advisor to Secretary Salazar with a focus on youth and diversity in the Interior’s public programs and workforce.

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the only national organization that develops tomorrow's conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with conservation service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and national forests. Since 1957, SCA's hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and help to save the planet. For more information, visit

Teton Science Schools (TSS) is a private, non-profit educational organization, operating year-round in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in partnership with Grand Teton National Park. Since 1967, TSS has provided education about the natural world and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The organization educates and inspires hundreds of children, youth and adults each year through the study of nature and place-based experiences. TSS’ innovative programs serve students from across Wyoming, the Intermountain West, the nation and the world. Visit TSS at

For further information on the NPS Academy, contact Susanne McDonald at 307.739.3656 or at

Plowing of Teton Park Road Begins March 14

Park maintenance staff use heavy-duty rotary equipment
to remove snow from the Teton Park Road each spring.
March 3, 2011
The annual snow plowing of the Teton Park Road in Grand Teton National Park will begin on Monday, March 14, weather depending. As plowing operations get underway, recreation on the snow-packed trail will cease for the 2010/11 winter season. Park visitors may continue to use other winter trails—or areas adjacent to the Teton Park Road—for skate skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing until snow conditions are no longer favorable for such activities.

For safety reasons, visitors may NOT access the Teton Park Road while rotary snow removal equipment and plows are working; the roadway is closed to ALL users during this period of time.  

Skiers and snowshoers using areas adjacent to the Teton Park Road are cautioned to avoid the arc of snow being blown from the rotary equipment because pieces of ice and gravel can be mixed with the snow spray. Park rangers will enforce the temporary road closure to ensure safe conditions for plow operators and park visitors alike.

Depending on weather, snow conditions and plowing progress, the roadway should become accessible to traditional springtime, non-motorized activities in early April; the opening of the Teton Park Road to bikers, hikers and inline skaters will be announced once snow removal equipment is no longer operating.

The Grassy Lake Road in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway is scheduled to close for the winter season on Tuesday morning, March 15, in conjunction with other winter closures in nearby Yellowstone National Park. This road remains closed to all motor vehicles from April 1 to May 31, due to springtime grizzly bear activity.

Depending upon snow conditions, ranger-led snowshoe hikes from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center will continue through mid March and perhaps beyond. To make a reservation for this activity, or to inquire whether snowshoe hikes are still being offered, please phone 307.739.3399. The Discovery Center will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout March, April and May.

Pet owners are reminded that dogs are not allowed in the park’s backcountry, which includes all areas away from park roadways and turnouts. Pet owners are required to have their dogs on a maximum 6-foot leash whenever they are outside of a private vehicle. Pet owners must clean up their dog waste. A “mutt-mitt” station is conveniently located near the Teton Park Road closure gates to provide bags for this purpose.

The paved, multi-use pathway running from Dornan’s to South Jenny Lake will not be open for public use until the snow recedes naturally.

The Teton Park Road will open to vehicle traffic for the 2011 summer season on Sunday, May 1.