Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting to Highlight Moose Research

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff will present highlights from a multi-year statewide moose research project at a public meeting this week.

Members of the public are invited to attend the Region One Citizen Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6 starting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is at FWP’s regional headquarters at 490 N. Meridian in Kalispell.

The meeting agenda includes a presentation by FWP research technician Jesse Newby, who has been studying Montana’s moose population. Newby will provide an update from FWP’s 10-year statewide research project as it finishes its fifth year. The presentation will include updates on efforts to develop a cost-effective statewide monitoring program for moose, as well as updates on field research into moose population dynamics.

Concern has emerged in recent years over widespread declines of North American moose populations along the southern extent of their range. Populations in Montana appear to have declined since the 1990’s, as evidenced by aerial survey trends and hunter harvest statistics

In 2013, FWP began a 10-year study designed to help the department better understand the status and trends of moose populations across Montana and identify the most cost-effective means to monitor those populations and maximize hunter opportunity.

The Region One Citizen Advisory Committee is comprised of local residents who help FWP achieve its goals by serving two main functions: providing the agency with information, ideas, emerging trends and initiatives from the public in a setting that welcomes diverse interests, and providing a vehicle for FWP to inform citizens.

For more information, visit http://fwp.mt.gov/regions/r1/cac/.



Jeff
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

National Park Service Extends Public Comment Period for Proposed Peak-Season Entrance Fees at 17 Parks

The National Park Service has extended the public comment periods for the proposed peak-season entrance fees at 17 national parks and revised fees for road-based commercial tours and will accept comments until December 22, 2017. If implemented, the increased fees would generate needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks.

The deadlines, originally scheduled for November 23, have been extended to accommodate interest in this issue from members of Congress and the public. Already, more than 65,000 comments have been received on the proposals.

Under the proposal, peak-season entrance fees would be established at 17 highly visited national parks. The peak season for each park would include its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation. The peak season entrance fee for a seven-day pass to each park would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.

The cost of the annual America the Beautiful- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, including all national parks for a one-year period, would remain $80. Entrance fees are not charged to visitors under 16 years of age or holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) passes. The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 parks have an entrance fee.

The proposed new fee structure would be implemented at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

Fees have long been an important source of revenue used to improve the visitor experience and recreation opportunities in national parks and on other federal lands. Estimates suggest that the peak season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year. The funds would be used to improve roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other amenities which enhance the visitor experience. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80% of entrance fees remain in the park where they are collected. The other 20% of the revenue is distributed to other national parks.

Access to the vast majority of National Park Service sites remains free; only 118 of 417 National Park Service units charge an entrance fee.

The public can comment period on the peak-season entrance fee proposal until December 22, 2017, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

The public comment period for proposed entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators has also been extended until December 22. The proposal would increase entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees. All CUA fees stay within the collecting park and would fund rehabilitation projects for buildings, facilities, parking lots, roads, and wayside exhibits that would enhance the visitor experience. The fees will also cover the administrative costs of receiving, reviewing, and processing CUA applications and required reports.

The proposal also includes a peak-season commercial entry fee structure for the 17 national parks referenced above. All proposed fee adjustments for commercial operators would go into effect following an implementation window.

Information and a forum for public comments regarding commercial permit requirements and fees is available until December 22, 2017 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commercialtourrequirements. Written comments can be sent to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.



Jeff
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Monday, November 13, 2017

Glacier National Park Builds Sister Park Relationship with Mongolian Park

A delegation from Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and the Mongolian Department of Protected Areas Management visited Glacier National Park for five days this October. The visit included the signing of a Sister Park Arrangement between Glacier National Park and Gorkhi-Terelj National Park on October 24.

The Mongolian delegation included two members of the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, including the Director, and four staff. Glacier National Park volunteers and past employees Fred and Lynne VanHorn provided primary logistical support for the delegation.

Glacier National Park has had a sister park agreement with the Khan Khentii Protected Area in Mongolia—just north of Gorkhi-Terelj—since 2004. Khan Khentii Protected area was divided into two parts in 2013, one of which is Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is located in Northeast Mongolia, 37 Km from Ulaanbaatar, the nation's capital.

The purpose of the sister park relationship is to promote international cooperation for the mutual benefit of the parks, provide a forum for collaboration about shared challenges, enrich the experience and training of park personnel through international exchanges and to share the cultural and social values of both countries.

Mongolia and Montana are located at the same latitude and have similar landforms, ecosystems, and wildlife. These similarities provide a unique platform for international cooperation and information sharing. The relationship with Gorkhi-Terelj will allow both parks to exchange expertise and to collaborate on a variety of projects, including education and youth programs, GIS mapping and trails development, threatened species protection, and the development of adaptive strategies in response to climate change.

During the visit, the Mongolian delegation toured the park and met with park staff and the park's non-profit partners. They also worked with park staff to assemble a ger, which is a type of yurt that the Mongolian Ministry of Environment gifted to Glacier National Park several years ago. The Glacier National Park Conservancy supported the visit, covering local expenses associated with their visit to the area.



Jeff
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

National Parks Commemorate Veterans Day

The National Park Service will commemorate Veterans Day and the service of American military members past and present with special events and free admission in parks throughout the country on November 11 and 12. The National Park Service’s American Military website contains a list of events as well as other military-related outreach and information.

“More than 100 national parks have direct connections to American military history, including frontier forts and Cold War sites, battlefields and national cemeteries, memorials and patriotic shrines, “ said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “These special places pay tribute to our veterans and serve as reminders of their selfless service and sacrifice throughout the history of our nation.”

From the colonial Minutemen who stood in defense of their rights, homes, and families near the North Bridge to modern warriors gathered for a reenlistment ceremony at the Statue of Liberty, the history of the National Park Service is interwoven with that of the United States military. In fact, each plays a part in the origin story of the other. The U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Navy were established by the Founding Fathers in buildings preserved in Independence National Historical Park. And, in 1886, the 1st U.S. Cavalry was dispatched to Yellowstone to stop the vandalism, poaching, and trespassing that threatened the world’s first national park. The military continued to oversee several of the country’s earliest national parks until the National Park Service was established in 1916.

During World War II, Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Denali, Hot Springs, and Carlsbad Caverns national parks hosted rest and rehabilitation camps for service members. This tradition of providing veterans and active duty military members with opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and camaraderie in the great outdoors continues today and includes partnerships with many service-related organizations. From high-adrenaline outdoor activities to peaceful experiences in the wilderness, national parks provide a variety of opportunities to enhance physical, social, mental, and spiritual fitness. Many parks are popular destinations for active adventures like hiking, climbing, cycling, swimming, and scuba diving, while others are known for more tranquil activities such as camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and observing the night sky.

The National Park Service also salutes its employees and volunteers who have served in the military. Their skills provide a wealth of benefits to national parks and park visitors. To name just a few of the career fields they fill in the National Park Service, veterans are accountants, archeologists, heavy equipment operators, historians, human resources specialists, law enforcement officers, mechanics, park managers, pilots, and wildlife biologists. The 5,813 employees who are veterans comprise 28 percent of the workforce. Park Ranger James Pierce, a combat-wounded veteran who now works at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said, “I am very proud to be part of the National Park Service where I can continue to serve and give back to my country, just in a different uniform. Working at national memorials that are dedicated to those who have fought and died for our freedom means everything to me."

In addition to special programs in parks across the country, all national parks will provide free admission to everyone on November 11 and 12. When in a park, active duty members of the military and their dependents can pick up a free annual pass to all national parks. Veterans with a permanent disability are eligible for a free lifetime pass. The passes provide free entrance to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other federal recreational areas. The passes can be acquired at any national park that usually charges an admission fee.



Jeff
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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Special Use Permit Fees Adjusted for 2018 in Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park’s Special Use Permit fee schedule will be adjusted for 2018. The adjustments include modest increases to permit fees for backcountry use, non-motorized boating, weddings, and special events. Permit fees for commercial filming, motorized boating, and other uses will remain unchanged.

Each year, park staff conduct a review of the special use permit program. The review compares the amount of fees collected over the past year for each special use with the operational costs associated with that use. The primary operational cost of each special use is staff time to issue the permits and conduct other activities such as maintenance, patrol, monitoring, or cleaning which may be associated with a particular special use. Other costs associated with special uses include printing, reservation software, and equipment.

Backcountry permits will rise from $25 to $35. To see the full list of changes, please click here.



Jeff
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nearly all entrances and roads close in Yellowstone Monday, Nov. 6

This weekend, November 4-5, provides the last chance for visitors to drive to many iconic locations in Yellowstone. The West, South, and East Entrances and all roads, with one exception, will close to vehicle travel at 8 a.m. Monday, November 6, so the park can prepare them for the winter season and snowmobile and snowcoach travel, which will begin Tuesday, December 15.

The one exception is the road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana through Mammoth Hot Springs to the park’s Northeast Entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana. This road is open all year, weather permitting. Travel east of Cooke City (via the Beartooth Highway) is not possible from late fall to late spring.

The one exception is the road from the park’s North Entrance at Visitors driving to and in the park during the fall and winter should have flexible travel plans and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Temporary travel restrictions or closures can occur at any time without notice. For the most current information on road conditions and road closures, visit go.nps.gov/YellRoads or call 307-344-2117 for recorded information.

Extensive information for planning a winter visit in Yellowstone, including information about lodging, camping, services, and activities, is available on the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/yell.

All communities near Yellowstone are open year-round, with local businesses offering a wide range of fall and winter recreation opportunities. For information about communities in Montana (Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Cooke City, and Silver Gate), visit www.visitmt.com. For information about Wyoming communities (Cody and Jackson), visit www.wyomingtourism.org. And if your travel plans to the park take you through Idaho, visit www.visitidaho.org.



Jeff
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Some Elk Herds Show Early Signs of Adapting to Chronic Wasting Disease

New research shows that elk herds infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD) for decades are genetically different than herds that haven’t been exposed to the fatal disease. It all comes down to a specific gene and a relatively rare variant of a protein. Elk herds with a long history of CWD have the rare version of the protein at twice the frequency when compared to herds that do not have CWD.

This protein is important because previous studies on elk in captivity found that elk with the rare version of the protein can survive longer after contracting CWD, which may also allow them more time to reproduce. Elk with the more common version of this prion protein may only live two years or less before succumbing to the disease.

How this single, genetic difference might affect other aspects of health and fitness in herds remains to be seen. For example, carrying this rare version of the protein may have other unknown harmful effects on elk, and other factors, such as new strains of CWD, may also affect the influence of the rare protein on elk herds with CWD. It is important to note, too, that most elk studied do not have the rare variant of the protein. This suggests that wildlife managers should continue to take a cautious approach and adopt strategies that minimize the spread of CWD.

“One of the most important conclusions from this study is that we cannot assume this genetic adaptation will prevent the impacts of CWD on elk. We must continue to evaluate and, where necessary, adjust how we manage elk populations that are or could be exposed to this disease,” says Dr. Ryan Monello, lead author of the paper Pathogen-mediated selection in free-ranging elk populations infected by chronic wasting disease.

To see if wild herds are adapting to CWD, biologists from the National Park Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, USDA Agricultural Research Service, and Washington State University collected and analyzed more than 1,000 samples from elk populations in Colorado, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Some of the herds had been infected with CWD for 30-50 years, while others had never been exposed to CWD.

“CWD remains a major concern for the health of wild deer and elk populations and now occurs in more than 20 states and provinces in North America. These findings are critical for establishing a baseline in our study populations and understanding how elk populations may or may not be able to respond to CWD going forward,” Dr. Monello says.

This research was published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Oct. 30, 2017. Read the full paper here.



Jeff
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Friday, October 27, 2017

Elk Reduction Program Begins Tomorrow

The 2017 elk reduction program begins Saturday, October 28 in Grand Teton National Park. The areas of the park open to the program, Elk Reduction Areas 75 and 79, are mostly located east of U.S. Highway 89. Area 79, the more northerly section, closes October 31. The Antelope Flats portion of area 75 closes November 30, and the remaining portions of area 75 close December 10. These areas remain open to park visitors, and the wearing of orange or other bright colors is highly recommended during this time.

The park’s enabling legislation of 1950 authorizes Grand Teton National Park to jointly administer an elk reduction program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department when deemed necessary for the proper management and conservation of the Jackson Elk Herd. Respective federal and state managers and biologists have reviewed available data and concluded that the 2017 program is necessary. A total of 600 permits are authorized for the 2017 program, the fewest of any year the program has been in effect.

The need for this reduction program stems partly from a management framework that includes annual winter feeding programs on the National Elk Refuge and in the upper Gros Ventre River drainage. Feeding sustains high numbers of elk with unnaturally low mortality rates. A majority of elk that are fed during the winter spend summers in Grand Teton National Park or use migration routes across park lands. The reduction program targets elk from three primary herd segments: Grand Teton, southern Yellowstone National Park, and the Teton Wilderness area of Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Participants in the program must carry their state hunting license, conservation stamp and permits, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. The use of archery, hand guns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, participants, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter safety card, wear fluorescent orange and carry and have immediately accessible non-expired bear spray. Information packets accompanying each permit warn participants of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the risk of human-bear conflicts.

Park rangers and biologists will monitor and patrol elk reduction program areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide participants with outreach regarding bear activity and safety.

An information line for the elk reduction program is available at 307.739.3681.



Jeff
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

National Park Service Proposes Targeted Fee Increases at Parks to Address Maintenance Backlog

As part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience and ensure America’s national parks are protected in perpetuity, the National Park Service (NPS) is considering increases to fees at highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons. Proposed peak season entrance fees and revised fees for road-based commercial tours would generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks. This includes roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services.

“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting. We need to have the vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids' grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today. Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that.”

Under the proposal, peak-season entrance fees would be established at 17 national parks. The peak season for each park would be defined as its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation.

The proposed new fee structure would be implemented at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

A public comment period on the peak-season entrance fee proposal will be open from October 24, 2017 to November 23, 2017, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

If implemented, estimates suggest that the peak-season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year. That is a 34 percent increase over the $200 million collected in Fiscal Year 2016. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80% of an entrance fee remains in the park where it is collected. The other 20% is spent on projects in other national parks.

During the peak season at each park, the entrance fee would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.

The cost of the annual America the Beautiful- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, including parks for a one-year period, would remain $80. Entrance fees are not charged to visitors under 16 years of age or holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) passes. The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 park sites charge an entrance fee, and the current proposal only raises fees at 17 fee-charging parks

The National Park Service is also proposing entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators. The proposal would increase entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees. All CUA fees stay within the collecting park and would fund rehabilitation projects for buildings, facilities, parking lots, roads, and wayside exhibits that would enhance the visitor experience. The fees will also cover the administrative costs of receiving, reviewing, and processing CUA applications and required reports.

In addition, the proposal would include a peak-season commercial entry fee structure for the 17 national parks referenced above. All proposed fee adjustments for commercial operators would go into effect following an 18-month implementation window.

Information and a forum for public comments regarding commercial permit requirements and fees is available October 24, 2017 to November 23, 2017 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commercialtourrequirements. Written comments can be sent to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.



Jeff
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Friday, October 20, 2017

Going-to-the-Sun Road Reopens to Avalanche

Going-to- the-Sun Road will reopen to Avalanche from the West Entrance by 12 pm on October 21. Going-to-the-Sun Road access from the St. Mary entrance is currently to Rising Sun. Logan Pass vehicle access from both the east and west park entrances has ended for the season.

The Going-to- the-Sun Road had previously been closed at Apgar on the west side of the park due to Sprague Fire activity, and then due to a large culvert replacement project several miles up the lake.

A significant amount of construction will still be occurring simultaneously with this road opening, some of which was delayed during the Sprague Fire and now must occur before winter. Visitors can expect intermittent one-lane traffic and delays between Apgar and Avalanche. Pullout rehabilitation continues, and many pullouts are closed as a result.

A portion of the Trail of the Cedars boardwalk has been removed to allow equipment access to the pedestrian footbridge currently under construction. The bridge is being modified to fully comply with ABA/ADA standards. Walking the Trail of the Cedars loop is not currently possible. In addition, a tree has fallen across the boardwalk portion breaking it, so the boardwalk portion of the trail is also temporarily closed. Visitors should obey signs and not enter construction zones.

Avalanche Lake Trail will be open, though hikers can expect to see trail crew conducting routine maintenance activities. In addition, a wind storm from earlier in the week has knocked down approximately 140 trees across the trail. The trail may close intermittently for tree clearing activities. Hikers should expect a much more difficult hiking experience than is typical due to trail condition.

Trails within the Sprague Fire burn area remain closed, including the trail to Sperry Chalet. The park estimates that nearly 2,000 trees have fallen over trail systems within the burn area. Hundreds more are expected to fall this winter with heavy snow. Significant tree fall hazards currently exist. The area closure is to protect human life and safety and violations carry federal penalties.

Trail crews will assess and begin clearing trails within the burn area in the spring when the threat to human safety is lower.

In the coming weeks, previously scheduled construction work on the entrance road to Avalanche Campground will begin. This will involve significant road excavation. Parking access in the campground once this construction begins will not be possible, even on weekends, due to the level of excavation that will occur. Visitors to the Avalanche area should park in the picnic area once campground road construction is underway.

A waterline will be installed between Sprague Creek Campground and Lake McDonald Lodge along the side of the Going-to- the-Sun Road. Traffic delays will occur around this operation as one lane will be utilized for construction.

The Lake McDonald Lodge parking area and pedestrian areas around the lodge will be closed for a period of time while the park completes flood risk mitigation activities following the Sprague Fire. Those activities include cleaning out culverts, pedestrian bridge modifications, and installing creek bank reinforcements in the Sprague and Snyder drainages.

Late-season hiker and biker access is currently to The Loop on the west side (beginning October 21) and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. The full road is not available to hikers and bikers right now because of excessive rock fall and treefall following this week’s wind storm. Hiker and biker access changes regularly in the late fall, and will shift to ski access as winter progresses.

Hikers, bikers, and vehicles may see more wildlife right now because the Avalanche area has been closed to the public in recent weeks. Bears are especially active at this time of year as they enter hyperphagia, a period when they seek large amounts of food before they den for the winter. All park visitors should carry bear spray in a readily accessible location, should know how to use it, and should remember required safe wildlife viewing distances. Those distances are 300 feet for bears and wolves, and 75 feet for all other wildlife.

Due to the scope of construction activities in the road corridor, delays experienced due to the Sprague Fire, and approaching winter, it is possible that the Going-to- the-Sun Road could re-close at one of the lower gates (Apgar, Lake McDonald Lodge, North McDonald Road, etc.) to facilitate more rapid construction. Typically the road closes at Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side on or before December 15, weather dependent.

Visitors entering the Going-to- the-Sun Road corridor through the West Glacier entrance should be mindful that the Sprague Fire continues to smolder to the east of the road, and is relatively close to the road in some areas. The entire fire area remains closed, and threats to human life and safety exist. Visitors should remain in the road corridor or on open trails and abide by area closures at all times.



Jeff
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Yellowstone Proposes Trail Project

Yellowstone is accepting comments regarding a proposed project on hiking trails in the southern part of the park. The project would involve portions of the Trail Creek and Two Ocean Plateau hiking trails that were damaged or destroyed by spring water run-off. This project would repair that damage and alleviate a problematic stream crossing during the summer of 2018. More specifically, the project would:

• Improve approximately 10 miles of trail
• Ensure the protection of sensitive terrain through extensive erosion control work
• Reroute approximately 400 yards of trail
• Involve constructing a small bridge for stock use

The National Park Service would complete the appropriate environmental compliance work and oversee the project in partnership with the Montana Conservation Corps.

Project information can be viewed and written comments submitted using the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system, hand-delivered, or mailed to the address below. Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any other way than those specified above. Comments must be received by midnight MST, November 18, 2017.

Hand deliver comments during business hours to:

Albright Visitor Center
Attention: Two Ocean Plateau Trail Project
Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190

Mail comments to:

Yellowstone National Park, Compliance Office
Attention: Two Ocean Plateau Trail Project
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190

Public Comment Considerations:

•Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
•Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information, be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made public at any time. You may ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
•The proposed project is an undertaking as outlined under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (36 CRF § 800). As such, we welcome comments about historic properties or other cultural resources that fall within the project area.



Jeff
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Public invited to talk with Wyoming Game and Fish Department about what they would like to know and learn about grizzly bears

The public is invited to talk with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department about what they would like to know and learn about grizzly bears. Game and Fish will be holding community meetings statewide beginning in mid-November where all people with an interest in grizzly bears can talk with wildlife managers. In May of last year the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a new version of its grizzly bear management plan. Now that the species has been delisted, management in Wyoming will be guided by this plan. These meetings will be an opportunity for those who are interested to weigh in on all components of grizzly bear management.

“We are excited to have conversations with the public and hear what they want to know and learn about their grizzly bears. We want these gatherings to be productive information sharing and listening sessions about an iconic animal that most everyone in Wyoming and beyond is interested in,” said Dan Thompson, Game and Fish large carnivore section supervisor.

The meetings will be a chance for the public to learn more about all aspects of grizzly bear research, education and management in Wyoming and help shape grizzly bear conservation in the future. Game and Fish biologists will open each meeting with a brief informative presentation on grizzly bear recovery and conservation, an overview of the major components of the grizzly bear management plan and what Game and Fish hopes to gain from discussions with the public.

“This is an opportunity for people to tell us what they think about grizzly bear management and to have an open discussion with Game and Fish about all the work we are doing with grizzly bears,” said Thompson. “After decades of recovery efforts, we now have the opportunity to delve deeper into some of the questions the public may have as to what is happening with grizzly bears and with our management of the population.”

Thompson said that while much outside focus and interest has been solely on hunting, the goals of the meeting are to talk about the overall grizzly bear management and the education and outreach program, Bear Wise, within the Game and Fish.

The tentative meeting schedule includes:

• Nov 8: Casper and Laramie
• Nov 9: Sheridan
• Nov 15: Jackson
• Nov 16: Pinedale
• Nov 29: Green River
• Nov 30: Cody
• Dec 4: Lander

Specific times and locations will be announced at the end of October. Information about grizzly bear management and education efforts is available on the Game and Fish website.



Jeff
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton to be Closed on October 17th

To accommodate road maintenance, a brief travel closure will be in place on Tuesday, October 17 on the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park. The section of road will be closed beginning at 7:00 a.m. and will reopen by 5:30 p.m. The road will be graded and rolled to improve conditions which have deteriorated recently due to wet weather.

Motorists and bicyclists should plan to use an alternate route on October 17 as this temporary closure will prevent making a ‘through trip’ on the Moose-Wilson Road between the Granite Canyon Entrance Station and the Teton Park Road at Moose, Wyoming.

For those wishing to reach the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve or the Death Canyon Trailhead, access will be possible by heading south from the Teton Park Road junction near the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center.

Electronic signs will be placed on Wyoming Highway 390 to alert park visitors and local residents of the scheduled road closure. For travelers heading south to Teton Village from the Moose area, signs will also be placed near the junction of the Teton Park Road.

Roadwork schedules may change, or be delayed, due to weather conditions, equipment malfunction, or other extenuating circumstances. The Moose-Wilson Road between Granite Canyon Trailhead and the Death Canyon Road junction is scheduled to close for the season the evening of October 31.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Temporary Closure Scheduled for Jenny Lake

Starting Monday, October 16, a temporary closure will be in effect for several trails and walkways within the Jenny Lake area of Grand Teton National Park. The temporary public closure is necessary to ensure public safety during helicopter transport of heavy material to the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas on the west side of Jenny Lake, as well as the paved walking paths on the east shore of the lake. The public closure is scheduled to be in effect through Sunday, October 22, though it may be lifted sooner as work is completed or postponed due to weather conditions or other circumstances.

Trails leading from Jenny Lake’s southeast shore to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point will be temporarily closed to all public access. Walking paths around the Jenny Lake Visitor Center will also be closed intermittently. Lake access from the public boat launch will not be allowed.

All visitor services in the Jenny Lake area, including the shuttle boat and visitor center, are closed for the season. Signs will be posted throughout the closure area, and park staff will be positioned to provide suggestions for alternate routes for anyone visiting this area of the park.

Areas not affected by this temporary public closure include: the Teton Park Road; Jenny Lake scenic loop road; access to Jenny Lake via the String Lake trailhead; access to Cascade Canyon via the horse trail bypass; and access to the Lupine Meadows trailhead.

This construction work is part of the Jenny Lake Renewal Project, a $19 million public-private partnership between the National Park Service and Grand Teton National Park Foundation. The project will enhance the visitor experience at the park’s most popular destination for generations to come. 2017 is the fourth of five major construction seasons.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Amazing Interview With Man Who Survived a Grizzly Bear Attack - Twice

This is a truly an amazing story. Todd Orr, an all-around outdoorsman from Bozeman, Montana, sat down with Jason Matzinger to discuss the sow grizzly bear that attacked him twice last fall. This guy was so incredibly calm and collected that he had the wherewithal to walk the three miles back to the trailhead by himself, and then shoot a short video of himself to show the damage done by the bear. That short clip is included in this video:



Before venturing into grizzly bear country it's always a good idea to educate yourself on how to prevent an encounter, and what to do should you see a grizzly while on the trail.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

HikinginGlacier.com Adds Four New Hikes to Website

Before venturing into the Canadian Rockies this past September (see blog posts from the past two weeks), we stopped in Glacier National Park for a few days of hiking. Other than Yellowstone, it may have been the highest concentration of wildlife we've ever seen in only a few days. In addition to the amazing scenery atop Grinnell Glacier Overlook, the highlight of our trip was the white wolf we saw in the Medicine Grizzly valley. It was the first wolf any of us had ever seen in Glacier.

As a result of this trip we've added four new hikes to our website at HikinginGlacier.com. Here's a quick rundown of each of those hikes:

* Grinnell Glacier Overlook is quite possibly the best view in Glacier National Park! This is in addition to all the stunning scenery you'll see along the Highline Trail before reaching the overlook. As we sat there soaking in the magnificent views, a nanny mountain goat and her kid raced past us - within 10 feet! At first we thought we were being charged, but she just wanted to get to the other side safely.

* Lake Josephine Loop - This loop takes you around both Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier area. The hike is mostly flat, making it a great choice for almost everyone in the family. Oh yea, the views are simply outstanding! Almost every time we've hiked in this area we've seen at least one moose.

* Triple Divide Pass - If you're looking for a little bit of solitude in Glacier National Park, Triple Divide Pass just may be the ticket. The trailhead is located in Cut Bank, roughly half-way between Two Medicine and St. Mary. The pass lies just below Triple Divide Peak, the only hydrological apex in North America - or is it? After soaking in the panoramic views from the pass, while proceeding down the mountain, we saw a white wolf trotting through a meadow in the valley below.

* Two Medicine Pass - Our wildlife tour definitely continued on this hike. During this trek we saw an owl as it soared through the trees just up the trail, saw an extremely large bull moose just below Rockwell Falls, and then, as we neared the pass, we came upon a large herd of Bighorn sheep. Numbering at least three dozen, it was by far the largest herd of Bighorns we've ever seen in one place. Once atop the pass we enjoyed outstanding panoramic views on both sides of the narrow ridge.

To see all of the trails covered by our website, please click here.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier National Park

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sentinel Pass

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Sentinel Pass:

The hike to Sentinel Pass begins from Moraine Lake, which sits at the foot of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Both the lake and the valley were featured on the reverse side of the Canadian twenty dollar bill between 1969 and 1979. At the foot of the lake is a large pile of boulders and rocks, leftovers from the glaciers that retreated thousands of years ago. A climb to the top of the rock pile is a popular destination for photographers. The view there of the lake and the valley is considered to be one of the most photographed scenes in Canada, and is now known as the "Twenty Dollar View". To say the least, this is an exceedingly beautiful scene, perhaps the most stunning in all of the Canadian Rockies.


After a relatively steep climb the trail levels off and begins traveling through the scenic Larch Valley. This is a great option during the fall if you wish to see the needles of the larch trees turn golden yellow. Larches are one of only a few species of conifers that shed their needles in the fall.



As you proceed towards the pass you’ll enjoy great views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Just before reaching the pass the trail passes a small tarn. From here you'll be able to see your destination, as well as the path that leads to it. Once atop the pass you’ll enjoy outstanding panoramic views of both the Larch Valley and the Paradise Valley. Unfortunately heavy smoke from the wildfires spoiled our views.






Trail: Sentinel Pass
RT Distance: 7.2 Miles (11.6km)
Elevation Gain: 2379 feet (725m)
TH Location: Moraine Lake
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Parkers Ridge

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Parkers Ridge:

This outstanding hike, which begins from the Icefields Parkway just south of the Icefield Center, ascends Parkers Ridge where you’ll enjoy dramatic views of the Saskatchewan Glacier. The glacier forms the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan River. Once at the top you’ll have the option of continuing your hike by heading either north or south along the broad ridge. We proceeded in both directions, both of which offered awesome views. Although the official roundtrip distance is listed at 2.5 miles, the actual mileage was more than that. We ended up doing roughly 4.25 miles total, which included our two relatively short side trips.






The Saskatchewan Glacier is the largest outflow glacier originating from the Columbia Icefield. Resting along the Continental Divide, the glacier is approximately 8.1 miles (13km) long, and covers an area of 11.5 square miles (30km²). In 1960 it was measured at more than 1300 feet (400m) thick at a distance of 5 miles (8km) from its terminal snout.




You don’t see many of these types of signs at trailheads too often:




Trail: Parkers Ridge
RT Distance: 4 Miles (6.4km)
Elevation Gain: 886 feet (270m)
TH Location: Icefields Parkway
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wenkchemna Pass

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Wenkchemna Pass:

The hike to Wenkchemna Pass begins from Moraine Lake, which sits at the foot of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Both the lake and the valley were featured on the reverse side of the Canadian twenty dollar bill between 1969 and 1979. At the foot of the lake is a large pile of boulders and rocks, leftovers from the glaciers that retreated thousands of years ago. A climb to the top of the rock pile is a popular destination for photographers. The view there of the lake and the valley is considered to be one of the most photographed scenes in Canada, and is now known as the "Twenty Dollar View". To say the least, this is an exceedingly beautiful scene, perhaps the most stunning in all of the Canadian Rockies.



This hike proceeds all the way to the end of the spectacular Valley of the Ten Peaks. Near the head of the valley is Eiffel Lake. Beyond the lake the trail climbs to the pass.

The highest peak in the range is the 8th peak in the valley. Known as Deltaform Mountain, this rugged peak tops out at 11,234 feet (3424m). The last mountain in the chain, Wenkchemna Peak, means “ten” in the Stoney Indian language.

Fortunately for us a cold front passed through the mountains the night before our hike, and pushed the thick smoke out of the area. That morning we awoke to a cold and blustery early-September day. We even saw a few snowflakes – the first of the season for us. As the day wore on the clouds rolled out and we enjoyed beautiful blue skies.










Trail: Wenkchemna Pass
RT Distance: 12 Miles (19.4km)
Elevation Gain: 2362 feet (720m)
TH Location: Moraine Lake
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Monday, October 2, 2017

Helen Lake / Dolomite Pass

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Helen Lake and Dolomite Pass:

This outstanding hike leads to a spectacular alpine meadow filled with wildflowers after the snowmelt, before visiting two lakes and a mountain pass that offers stunning panoramic views. The hike begins with a climb up the south-facing slopes of the Bow Valley, which eventually offers views of Crowfoot Glacier across the valley. After 3.5 miles hikers will reach their first destination on this hike, Helen Lake. The cirque mountain walls that frame Helen Lake are home to a large community of marmots. Though we didn’t actually see any, we heard their distinctive whistles echoing off the walls of the natural amphitheater. We also saw a golden eagle soaring along the updrafts. It appeared to be nesting high along the mountain opposite the lake.






After soaking in the views we climbed above Helen Lake with the intention of proceeding towards Dolomite Pass. Somehow, after reaching the ridgetop above the lake, we took the wrong trail, an unmarked social trail that led us along the canyon ridge. Though it didn’t take us where we intended to go, it did offer outstanding views of both Helen and Katherine Lakes, as well as the mountains that surrounded them. With threatening skies moving in once again, we decided to end our hike there.







Trail: Dolomite Pass (Helen Lake)
RT Distance: 11.1 Miles (18km)
Elevation Gain: 1968 feet (600m)
TH Location: Icefields Parkway
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Interagency Fall Burning Projects to be Implemented in Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest

Teton Interagency Fire personnel will be burning piles of slash created from fuels reduction and hazard tree projects within Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest. Firefighters will burn these piles under low fire behavior conditions as colder temperatures and wet conditions exist.

Pile burning in Grand Teton National Park will take place in several locations, including:

◦ Along the Signal Mountain Summit Road,
◦ Along the north side of Pacific Creek Road, after the road junction to Pacific Creek Trailhead,
◦ Near the White Grass Dude Ranch,
◦ Near the Bar B C Dude Ranch,
◦ East of Antelope Flats area, south of Shadow Mountain,
◦ Near the South Landing campsite on Jackson Lake south of Signal Mountain, and
◦ Southeast of Phelps Lake.

Additional fuels reduction work will take place this fall north of the Pacific Creek Subdivision access road.

Within the Blackrock and Jackson Ranger Districts of the Bridger Teton National Forest, slash piles will be burned in the permitted areas of Jackson Hole Mountain and Snow King Mountain Ski Resorts, and the forested areas of Sheffield Campground and neighboring Jack Pine summer homes in the Granite Creek area. Additional areas on the forest with piles may also be targeted for burning this fall.

Most of these projects are designed to reduce vegetation and lower the risk of losing structures to a wildfire and create more open areas that will help moderate fire behavior during a wildfire. Some debris piles are from routine hazard tree removal, and trail and road maintenance activities.

Slash piles are created by thinning and removing lower limbs from trees, and removing hazard trees, as well as removing dead wood and brush from the forest floor. Firefighters place the slash in tepee-shaped piles and leave them to cure before burning. Creating this defensible space is essential to public safety and improving a neighborhood’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Fuels reduction work also increases firefighter safety in the event of a wildfire.

Smoke will be visible in the vicinity of burning slash piles. Ignitions will cease early in the afternoon each day to allow piles and fuels to burn down prior to evening inversions and reduce smoke impacts to the area. All piles will be monitored until they are declared out.

The thinning and removal of vegetation on private property, when accompanied with adjacent fuels reduction projects on public lands, helps create the necessary space to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and also protects homes from catching fire, either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Home and property assessments are available through the Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition partners at no cost.

To learn more about fire prevention and fire-adapted communities call 307-739-5424 or visit Tetonfires.com.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bow Glacier Falls

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Bow Glacier Falls:

The hike to Bow Glacier Falls begins from the back side of the historic Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. From the lodge the trail leads around the northern shore of Bow Lake, before following along the inlet stream that crosses over a series of broad gravel flats to the base of Bow Glacier Falls.


Both the lake and the valley offers great views of the surrounding mountains, but smoke from dozens of wildfires limited the vistas during our hike.





Be sure to check out the slot canyon before making the short, but steep climb at the end of the gravel flat section:


At the end of the valley is Bow Glacier Falls, which drops roughly 410 feet (120m), and has a maximum width of roughly 75 feet (23m):



Trail: Bow Glacier Falls
RT Distance: 5.6 Miles (9km)
Elevation Gain: 459 feet (155m)
TH Location: Icefields Parkway
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com