Monday, August 21, 2017

Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team Announces Grizzly Bear Trapping

As part of ongoing efforts required under the 2016 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the USGS and Yellowstone National Park would like to inform the public that biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) and Yellowstone National Park will be conducting scientific grizzly bear and black bear research operations in Yellowstone National Park from August 22 through October 31.

Team members will bait and trap bears at several remote sites within Yellowstone National Park. Once trapped, the bears are anesthetized to allow wildlife biologists to radio-collar and collect scientific samples for study. All trapping and handling are done in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.

None of the trap sites in the park will be located near any established hiking trails or backcountry campsites, and all trap sites will have posted warnings for the closure perimeter. Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs for the closure area. Backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas need to heed the warnings and stay out of the area.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and manage grizzly bears in the ecosystem on an interagency basis. The gathering of critical data on the bears is part of a long-term research effort and required under the 2016 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing conservation of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population.

The IGBST is composed of representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.



Jeff
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rangers Rescue Injured Climber on Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park rangers conducted a helicopter-based rescue of a climber who was seriously injured while descending the Grand Teton. The rescue effort began at 4:16 p.m. Friday, August 19 when rangers received a call from a member of the injured climber’s party.

Evan Pack, 33, of Lehi, UT summited the Grand Teton and was beginning to descend the mountain when he lost his footing on a downclimb and fell approximately 20 feet. He suffered serious injuries requiring evacuation from near 13,770 foot summit.

As Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received the initial call for help, the Teton Interagency Contract Helicopter was headed to Yellowstone National Park to assist an injured hiker on Avalanche Peak. Once that hiker was flown to safety, the helicopter returned to Grand Teton National Park and deposited two rangers who were on-board at the Lower Saddle below the Grand Teton.

Once configured for short-haul, the helicopter returned to the Lower Saddle and flew the rangers to the location of the accident. The rangers provided emergency medical assistance, prepared Pack for the short-haul flight, and loaded him into a rescue litter. One ranger then flew with Pack to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 7:04 p.m. Pack was transferred to an Air Idaho Rescue helicopter and flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, ID.

The other ranger assisted the remaining four members of Pack’s party with the descent from the Grand Teton to the Lower Saddle.

Grand Teton National Park will experience a Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21. The backcountry will remain open to climbers and hikers, though many areas are expected to see increased visitation. Rescue resources will be extremely limited, so appropriate skill level relevant to the climb or hike is essential to visitors’ safety. Overnight backcountry permits have all been distributed through the eclipse. Visitors must have a permit to spend the night in the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual or gear is suspended below the helicopter on a 150 to 250 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain.



Jeff
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Two Mountaineers Rescued on Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park’s Jenny Lake Rangers, Teton Interagency Helitack, and the Teton Interagency Contract Helicopter came to the rescue of two mountaineers Tuesday, August 15. The mountaineers, Nick Marucci, 30, of Salt Lake City, UT and Laura Robertson, 23, of Orem, UT were attempting to complete the Grand Traverse when they became mentally and physically exhausted after five challenging days in the high mountains.

Marucci and Robertson ascended Teewinot Mountain and Mount Owen on the first two days of their journey before cool temperatures, rain, and hail hampered their progress on Sunday. On Monday, the two climbers ascended a portion of the North Ridge of the Grand Teton despite limited visibility and wet, icy conditions. After ascending a few hundred feet, suffering minor injuries, and loosing manual dexterity due to the cold, they called for help at 4:15 p.m. Their call was forwarded from the Teton County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center.

Jenny Lake Rangers took the call and attempted to talk the mountaineers through various escape route possibilities. Rangers stationed at the Lower Saddle also attempted to reach their location but were unable to do so due to the wet conditions. The rangers then advised Marucci and Robertson to descend to a small ledge and spend the night in their tent before descending two rappels further to the Grandstand feature the following morning.

After discussing options with the climbers to make the long descent out of the mountains Tuesday morning, it became clear that they were too exhausted and an aerial rescue would be the safest and most expeditious form of rescue. Rangers conducted a reconnaissance flight before configuring the helicopter for short-haul rescue.

Once an adequate window between mid-level clouds opened, one ranger was flown to the climbers’ location at 12,600 feet and he prepared the two climbers for extraction by short-haul. Just after noon, Robertson was flown solo to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache in an evacuation suit before the ranger flew with Marucci to the same location a few minutes later.

Jenny Lake Rangers advise mountaineers attempting the Grand Traverse to become familiar with portions of the route’s complex terrain before attempting the route in its entirety. Special attention should be given to possible escape routes along the way. Additionally, cool temperatures and precipitation can come to the Teton highcountry with little warning—adequate rain gear is essential.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual or gear is suspended below the helicopter on a 150 to 250 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain.



Jeff
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sprague Fire Grows to 100 Acres - Glacier Resumes Issuing Backcountry Permits

The Sprague Fire, which was sparked in a lightning storm on August 10 in Glacier National Park, has actively burned over the past two days.

The park is managing the Sprague Fire using a confine and contain suppression strategy. The objective is to keep the fire within natural and human made fire breaks due to the steep terrain, concern for firefighter safety given the terrain, and scarcity of firefighter resources due to high fire activity throughout the northwest. The park expects that this fire may continue to burn in some capacity throughout the summer season before a snow event this fall.

Though a cool weather system moved through the area on Sunday and Monday, little rain fell on the fire. The fire is now estimated at 100 acres and is burning in steep, heavily forested terrain on the west side of the park. Due to very dry fuels and predicted dry weather conditions, fire managers expect to see continued fire growth over the next several weeks.

The fire is located above Crystal Ford on the Gunsight Trail. This is the main access trail to the Sperry Chalet. Depending on fire behavior, the Sperry Chalet may remain closed for the rest of the season. The structures at Sperry Chalet are not immediately threatened by fire at this time, however the park is prepared to implement structural protection precautions as necessary. Sperry Chalet has 17 guest rooms that hold between 40-50 overnight guests each night during the summer season. The chalet was scheduled to close for the season on September 11.

Thus far, ground firefighting resources have not been able to access the fire safely for direct action. Crews are evaluating the terrain and identifying natural fire breaks, areas for human-made fire breaks, and other fuel modification strategies that will be used to contain the fire. The fire is expected to grow beyond the steep mountainous terrain it is now in. If the fire moves off of the steep slopes, crews will be able to conduct ground firefighting operations. As available, aerial resources will continue to be used to reinforce natural and manmade barriers.

Other fires within the park have been contained or are being staffed. A fire was reported in the North Fork area of the park on Sunday. The Adair Peak fire was evaluated on August 14 for fire behavior and threats to structures. It is burning in heavy duff in a remote area. It would require a substantial firefighter commitment to extinguish in the short-term. Due to this, the park will continue to evaluate and assess this fire, but will direct firefighting resources to other fires unless fire behavior changes. Fire managers expect that the Adair Peak fire may grow somewhat. No structures are immediately threatened.

Glacier National Park has resumed issuing backcountry permits for designated backcountry campgrounds. Some backcountry campgrounds are closed due to fire activity. All front country campgrounds remain open. Check here for updated backcountry status. Trail closures remain in effect for the Howe Ridge Trail, Camas Trail, Trout Lake Trail, the Gunsight Pass Trail from Lake McDonald to Gunsight Pass (including all secondary trails such as the Snyder Lake Trail), and the Lincoln Lake Trail. Most areas of the park are open including all areas of the North Fork, Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, Many Glacier and Goat Haunt. Please check the park website for updated trail and road information at http://bit.ly/2uAE96d


Jeff
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Sperry Chalet Closed for the Season Due to Wildfire

As a result of the recent Sprague fire, Sperry Chalet has announced that it has closed for the season. Here's a statement from the chalet manager:
We regret to inform you that the Sperry Chalet season is over. The National Park Service and teams of wildland fire fighters are putting in a great effort at fighting the Sprague fire which is threatening the Sperry Trail, but the fire is winning this battle. It is currently estimated at 100 acres and is expected to grow further. The buildings at Sperry Chalet are not currently in any danger, but we are cut off from reaching the chalet.

We are beginning the process of canceling all reservations for the remainder of the season. We will be contacting reservation holders directly. The guests we are unable to serve will be receiving full refunds. If you have any questions about your reservation please call our office.

We are grateful for the support we have received from the National Park Service. We have also received help and encouragement from a great many people including fellow park concessions, neighboring private businesses, concerned citizens, and the amazing guests of Sperry Chalet. I feel honored to be part of this supportive Glacier Park community.

And of course we applaud the efforts of all firefighters working in Montana this year. This summer has been a good reminder for us about the importance of respecting Mother Nature's incredible powers.

Best Wishes

Kevin



Jeff
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Grand Teton National Park Announces Official Eclipse Viewing Locations

Grand Teton National Park managers expect August 21, 2017—the day of the Total Solar Eclipse Across America—to be the busiest single day in the history of the park. Visitors to the park on eclipse day can ensure a successful viewing experience by developing a plan and heeding a few simple guidelines. Complete eclipse viewing information can be found in a special edition newspaper available in park visitor centers and entrance stations, and by visiting www.nps.gov/grandteton and clicking the eclipse banner.

Visitors are invited to view the eclipse from the center path of totality along the Gros Ventre Road, which will be the largest eclipse viewing area in the park. The road will be one-way traffic eastbound from its junction with U.S. Highway 26/89/191 to the community of Kelly, with parking allowed in the left lane. Portable toilets will be located along the road, as well as park staff.

Rangers and astronomers will provide telescopes and interpretive programs at four designated eclipse viewing areas including the Gros Ventre Campground Amphitheater, Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center parking area, Jackson Lake Lodge back lawn, and behind the Colter Bay Visitor Center.

Due to limited parking available at the Gros Ventre Amphitheater, parking passes are required. One hundred free passes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis Saturday, August 19 from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose and the Colter Bay Visitor Center starting at 8:00 a.m. Campers at the Gros Ventre Campground and visitors parking along the Gros Ventre Road are invited to join the program by walking to the amphitheater.

The eclipse will be visible throughout the park with the duration of totality ranging from 2 minutes 19 seconds near the park’s southern boundary to just a few seconds along the park’s northern boundary. No matter where visitors view the eclipse, they should be prepared with ample food, water, eclipse glasses, sunscreen, and other necessary items for the day as little to no infrastructure exists in most locations. Visitors should pack out all trash and recyclables and heed the following guidelines as they make their eclipse day plans:

•Expect heavy congestion, traffic gridlock, and long delays. Allow ample time to arrive at your eclipse viewing location and consider staying in place afterward until traffic thins,

•Have water, food, and vehicle fuel for the day. Bring a minimum of 2 quarts of water per person,

•No roadside parking will be allowed on U.S. Highway 26/89/191, Teton Park Road, or Moose-Wilson Road,

•Eclipse parking begins at 6:00 a.m. park-wide. Overnight parking or camping in roadside pullouts, turnouts, or parking lots is not allowed,

•Prevent human-caused wildfires. Charcoal burning and campfires are allowed only at designated campgrounds and picnic areas within metal fire grates. Stoves and grills that burn contained fuel sources such as liquid petroleum gases are allowed on hardened surfaces if attended at all times, and

•Additional portable toilets will be located throughout the park.

Several special eclipse and astronomy programs are planned in the park this weekend, Friday, August 18 through Sunday, August 20. Please visit the park’s website or the special eclipse newspaper for more information.



Jeff
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Partial Fire Restriction Begin Today August 15 on Public Land

Stage 1 fire restrictions will be go into effect for Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, Bureau of Land Management High Desert District and National Elk Refuge beginning 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, August 15.

Stage 1 fire restrictions apply primarily to campfires and smoking. The restrictions are based in part on the current high fire danger and predictions of continued warm and dry weather. Other factors include current regional and national fire activity and increased visitation to the area during the upcoming total solar eclipse. Several geographic areas are experiencing major incidents which have the potential to exhaust all agency fire resources. “The limited number of available fire resources due to the national fire situation and the increased traffic may limit our ability to respond to fires in a timely fashion,” said Mike Johnston, assistant fire management officer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. “We want people to take the danger seriously and obey the restrictions that are in place.”

Fire managers study the moisture content of various fuel types, track current and expected weather conditions, and monitor available fire-fighting resources, as well as the occurrence of human-caused fires, to determine when fire restrictions need to be applied to public lands. The Teton Interagency Dispatch Center has recorded over 73 unattended campfires so far this summer.

Teton and Sublette Counties will also begin fire restrictions this week. The Shoshone and Caribou-Targhee National Forests have implemented some form of fire restrictions as well. Teton Wilderness on the Blackrock Ranger District, and the Bridger Wilderness on the Pinedale Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, will be exempted from the stage 1 restriction order. These areas are higher in elevation and the fuels are not as dry as the rest of the forest.

Stage 1 fire restrictions include:

•Lighting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, barbecue or grill is allowed only at designated recreation sites such as established campgrounds or picnic areas. Use of portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel, or use of a fully enclosed sheepherder type stove with a spark arrester screen is permitted.

•Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building (unless otherwise prohibited), developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials (i.e. parking lots, developed campsites, or locations surrounded by water).

The following restrictions exist year round:

•Operating a chainsaw is prohibited in national parks and on the wildlife refuge. Operating a chainsaw on national forest lands is permitted only when equipped with a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester that is properly installed and in effective working order. Operators must also carry a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.

•Discharge of fireworks and use of explosives requiring blasting caps are prohibited.

•Charcoal burning fires are only allowed in official campgrounds and picnic areas.

•Stoves and grills that burn contained fuel sources that can be turned off and on are allowed. Stoves and grills must be attended to all times and be setup on hardened surfaces devoid of vegetation at least three feet in diameter.

Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, and/or by imprisonment for more than six months.

Unattended or abandoned campfires can quickly escalate into wildfires, and it is extremely important that all campfires are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before campers leave their site. Visitors should NEVER leave a fire unattended, and should prepare for the unexpected by having a water bucket and shovel on hand and ready to use. The fine for an abandoned campfire as well as campfires in unapproved areas is up to $5000 or 6-months in jail, but campers can also be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire.

A copy of the order and additional information on allowable stoves is available on www.tetonfires.com. To report a fire or smoke on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, or National Elk Refuge, call 307.739.3630.



Jeff
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Glacier National Park Fire Update - 8/14

Glacier National Park has resumed issuing backcountry permits in designated backcountry sites. Some backcountry campgrounds are closed due to fire activity. All front country campgrounds remain open. Check https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm for updated status.

Trail closures remain in effect for the Howe Ridge Trail, Camas Trail, Trout Lake Trail, the Gunsight Pass Trail from Lake McDonald to Gunsight Pass (including all secondary trails such as the Snyder Lake Trail), and the Lincoln Lake Trail.

The Sprague Fire (estimated at 35 acres) is being managed using a confine and contain strategy due to the steep terrain and concerns with fire fighter safety. Aerial resources have been used to slow fire growth, and ground resources are on scene. Other fires within the park are being staffed.

Sperry Chalet remains closed. The structures in the Sperry Chalet complex are not immediately threatened, however the Sprague fire has necessitated the closure of the main trail that accesses the chalet. No overnight guests remain at Sperry Chalet.

Most areas of the park are open including all areas of the North Fork, Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, Many Glacier and Goat Haunt. Please check the park website for updated trail and road information at http://bit.ly/2uAE96d



Jeff
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Yellowstone releases reports about visitors and traffic

Yellowstone National Park has released the results of two separate studies completed in 2016 that provide current information about traffic and parking, as well as visitor demographics, values, experiences, and expectations.

The park invested in these studies to better understand the challenges of increased visitation. Since 2008, annual visitation in Yellowstone has increased by more than 40 percent. This visitation growth challenges the park’s ability to manage visitor use in a way that protects resources and offers high-quality, safe visitor experiences.

“Historic and recent trends demonstrate that visitation will increase over the long-term, therefore, it is imperative for us to plan now,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “Good visitor use management will allow the park to protect resources, encourage access, and improve experiences.”

The new data from the Visitor Use Study shows that visitors enjoy and care about Yellowstone, but they think it’s too crowded during the summer season. Visitors value the park for its natural character and come specifically to experience scenery, wildlife, thermal features, a largely intact ecosystem, and sounds of quiet and nature. More than half of Yellowstone’s visitors surveyed think that there are too many people in the park. Based on data collected in the study, 83 percent of Yellowstone’s visitors come from the United States and 17 percent come from abroad, including visitors from Europe (49 percent of international), China (34 percent of international), and Canada (10 percent of international).

The Transportation and Vehicle Mobility Study shows that within Yellowstone’s most heavily-travelled corridors, parking lots are overflowing, traffic jams abound, and roadway safety incidents are on the rise. The report identifies the busiest corridors as the roads that connect Yellowstone’s West Entrance with visitor attractions throughout the western and central parts of the park (such as Old Faithful, other geyser basins, the Canyon Area, Hayden Valley, Fishing Bridge, and Lake Village). During much of the summer season, there are on average nearly 30 percent more vehicles using these corridors than those roads can comfortably and safely handle.

Outside of heavily-travelled corridors, traffic levels are also high, with vehicles following closely behind other vehicles 60-80 percent of the time. According to the study, assuming a conservative 3.7-5.3 percent growth rate per year, all roadways in the park are expected to perform poorly by 2021-2023 due to traffic volume. Two thirds of Yellowstone’s visitors surveyed think that finding available parking is a problem, and over half think that the amount of roadway traffic and congestion are problems.

The data from these two new reports, combined with internal data about resource impacts, will help Yellowstone managers consider the types of management strategies that could be used in the future. These strategies include (but aren’t limited to) communication and traffic management systems, shuttle systems and other types of transportation alternatives, and reservations or timed-entry systems. These strategies could be implemented in key locations or park wide.

The park will continue to gather information, including focused studies through 2019, that will guide the park in evaluating tradeoffs in visitor experience and developing the most appropriate strategies to address summer season visitor use challenges. As we move forward, Yellowstone will reach out to its many stakeholder groups to better understand their thoughts on summer visitation and gather information to shape future management actions.

The full reports are available to read and/or download on the park’s summer use planning webpage at https://www.nps.gov/yell/getinvolved/summeruseplanning.htm.



Jeff
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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Glacier Park Wildfires Update - Red Flag Warning Issued Thru Sunday Evening

Interagency fire response continues in Glacier National Park after several fires were sparked following a severe storm with over 150 lightning strikes in Glacier National Park late Thursday afternoon.

Aerial resources and fire crews are working on the Sprague, Howe Lake and Rogers fires on the west side of the park. New fires being assessed on the east side of the park include a small fire visible from the Going-to-the Sun Road near Siyeh Bend, and on Elk Mountain in the southeast area of the park. Both of these fires are estimated to be less than a tenth of an acre in size, and are in rocky areas with little potential for spread.

A red flag warning has been issued from 2 PM this afternoon through Sunday evening for the Glacier National Park region. Strong winds and possible thunderstorms are predicted. Due to extremely dry conditions, potential for new starts and fire growth is high. Additional fire personnel are staged on both sides of the park to respond to new fires.

The Apgar Lookout Trail has been reopened, as has the John’s Lake Trail area trails. Closures remain in effect for the Howe Ridge Trail, Camas Trail, Trout Lake Trail, the Sperry Trail from Lake McDonald to Gunsight Pass (including all secondary trails such as the Synder Lake Trail and the Lincoln Lake Trail). The Inside North Fork Road is also closed to vehicles from Fish Creek to Logging Lake.

Backcountry campgrounds in the areas listed above are also closed. Other backcountry areas in the park are still open for day use. No new overnight backcountry permits are being issued, in order to reduce the number of people overnighting in the backcountry while the park remains in extreme fire danger. Individuals with current backcountry permits for areas not impacted by fires are not being asked to leave.

Sperry Chalet remains closed. The structures in the Sperry Chalet complex are not immediately threatened, however the Sprague fire has necessitated the closure of the main trail that accesses the chalet. As of Friday, no overnight guests remain at Sperry Chalet.

Most areas of the park are open including all areas of the North Fork, Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, Many Glacier and Goat Haunt. Please check the park website for updated trail and road information.



Jeff
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Afternoon Update - Multiple Fires in Glacier Park Following Storm

Fire personnel conducted a detection flight over the park midday today.

Three fires were confirmed following yesterday afternoon's storm.

The Sprague Fire is currently estimated at 10 acres. A Type 1 and Type 2 helicopter are being used to drop water on this priority fire. Heli- rappel crews have been inserted to support fire suppression activities, and additional crews will be responding this afternoon.

The Rogers Fire is currently estimated at two acres, though little to no smoke was seen on the fire during the overflight.

A new start was detected near Howe Lake that is estimated at less than .1 acre.

Air resources working on the Sprague Fire will assist with the Rogers and Howe Lake fires as available. Additional field personnel will also assist from the ground. Helicopters dropped water on the Rogers Fire yesterday while also responding to the Vaught Fire.

No new fire activity was detected for the Vaught Fire or for previous smoke reports on Apgar Mountain or in the Nyack area, however there was low visibility in the Nyack area due to fog. Closures will remain in effect for all of these areas while the park continues to monitor conditions.

The response team will conduct another detection flight later this afternoon and will release an update with flight findings, overnight fire behavior, and an update on closures in the morning.

The following trails are still closed: Apgar Lookout Trail, Howe Ridge Trail, Camas Trail, Trout Lake Trail, the Sperry Trail from Lake McDonald to Sperry Chalet (including all secondary trails such as Synder Trail), John’s Lake Trail, and Lincoln Lake Trail.

Most areas of the park remain open including all areas of the North Fork (all closures have been lifted from earlier this week), Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, and Many Glacier.

Fire managers expect hot and dry conditions to persist through the weekend. Additional trail closures are possible as conditions change or new fires are detected. Visitors should check the park’s trail status page for the most current closure information: https://www.nps.gov/gl…/planyourvisit/trailstatusreports.htm



Jeff
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Wildfires Force Trail Closures in Glacier

A storm that moved through the park late yesterday afternoon triggered approximately 150 lightning strikes throughout the park. Multiple fires have been reported.

Fires are suspected or known in the Apgar Lookout area, the Nyack area, Sprague drainage, and Camas drainage. Visit the following website for estimated fire sizes: http://www.wildcad.net/WCMT-KIC.htm

The following trails are closed: Apgar Lookout Trail, Howe Ridge Trail, Camas Trail, Trout Lake Trail, the Sperry Trail from Lake McDonald to Sperry Chalet (including all secondary trails such as Synder Trail), John’s Lake Trail, and Lincoln Lake Trail.

Backcountry campgrounds in the areas listed above are closed and backcountry users in those areas are being walked out. Those include Arrow, Camas, Snyder, Sperry, and Lincoln Backcountry Campgrounds.

Other backcountry areas in the park are still open for day use. No new overnight backcountry permits will be issued today to reduce the number of people overnighting in the backcountry while the park assesses the impacts from last night’s storm.

Sperry Chalet guests will either hike out via the Gunsight Pass Trail, or remain in place while the Sprague fire is being assessed. Guests with reservations for tonight will not be able to access the chalet. Additional updates will be available as the fire is further evaluated. The structures in the Sperry Chalet complex are not immediately threatened, however the main trail accessing the chalet may be impacted by the fire.

No horseback rides will depart from the Lake McDonald Corral today.

A Type III incident commander has been assigned and additional resources are being ordered. The initial attack for these fires is being managed with park and Flathead National Forest fire management staff and law enforcement, including air support.

Most areas of the park remain open including all areas of the North Fork (all closures have been lifted from earlier this week), Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, and Many Glacier.

Fire managers expect hot and dry conditions to persist through the weekend. Additional trail closures are possible as conditions change or new fires are detected. Visitors should check the park’s trail status page for the most current closure information. https://www.nps.gov/gl…/planyourvisit/trailstatusreports.htm

The park is currently experiencing a power outage on the west side of the park unrelated to the fires. The outage extends beyond the park boundary. This may impact the park’s ability to provide up to the minute fire updates.



Jeff
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Yellowstone/Tetons: Expect heavy visitation around August 21

Visitation to Yellowstone National Park in the days before, during, and after the solar eclipse on August 21 is anticipated to be heavier than usual.

On August 21, visitors will see the moon pass between the sun and earth, blocking a part of the sun – a partial eclipse – throughout the park. Yellowstone is not in the path of totality.

Park roads and facilities may be overwhelmed by this large influx of visitors who are here to see the eclipse. Yellowstone does not recommend traveling in and out of the South Entrance on August 21. That entrance borders Grand Teton National Park and the center-line of the solar eclipse will pass over that park, placing it in the path of totality. August 21 is anticipated to be the busiest day in the history of Grand Teton National Park.

In Yellowstone, the partial eclipse will occur between 10:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. The eclipse will “peak” around 11:36 a.m. for a little over two minutes.



Jeff
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Rangers Conduct Two Rescues in Teton Range

Grand Teton National Park’s Jenny Lake Rangers recently conducted two overnight search and rescue efforts. During the first rescue, rangers assisted a climber who slipped and fell on snow while descending the Middle Teton. The second rescue consisted of a helicopter extraction of two climbers who became disoriented and stranded while descending Mt. Moran.

The second and more complex rescue operation began around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 8 when Ron Sloot, 58, of Colfax, WA and Geoff Mitchell, 35, of Spartanburg, SC called for help. After summiting Mt. Moran around 4:30 p.m. Monday, the two climbers began to descend the commonly-used CMC route. Around 9:00 p.m., after the fourth rappel, they realized they had taken a wrong turn, used an old anchor point, and were now off-route. The climbers spent several hours searching in the dark for a traverse, climb, or rappel out of their predicament before calling Teton Interagency Dispatch Center and being connected with the on-call search and rescue coordinator.

After consulting with the stranded climbers, the coordinator advised they stay in their current location until sunrise. Once it became clear the climbers would not be able to self-rescue in the daylight, rangers prepared the Teton Interagency Contract helicopter for short-haul. Unfortunately, inclement weather precluded use of the helicopter until mid-afternoon.

Around 3:00 p.m., a ranger was inserted to the ledge where the two climbers were waiting. After preparing the climbers for the flight, the ranger and climbers were flown out by short-haul and returned to Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache around 3:30 p.m. The two climbers consulted climbing rangers at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station, A Climber’s Guide to the Teton Range, and several online sources before beginning their trip.

The first rescue operation began around 5:15 p.m. Monday, August 7, when a patrolling ranger in Garnet Canyon was informed by other mountaineers of an accident which had taken place near the saddle of the south fork of the canyon. Carl Miester, 46, of East Windsor, NJ was descending a snow field near the Middle Teton with five others when he slipped, fell, and slid approximately 50 feet on snow before tumbling across 20 feet of rock and sustaining minor injuries. He did not have an ice ax or helmet.

The ranger responded to the scene, assessed Miester’s injuries, and assisted him down to the Meadows backcountry camping zone where Miester spent the night with his party. Another ranger met up with the party the next morning as they descended the trail and assisted them the rest of the way to Lupine Meadows Trailhead.

Rangers would like to remind hikers and climbers in the Teton Range that an ice ax and experience in its use is still necessary to access many high-elevation areas. As days become shorter in late summer, a keen eye should also be kept on the time and a turn-around time designated so trips can be completed with sufficient daylight. Rangers would also like to thank the many mountaineers and guides who assisted rescue operations and relayed information between rangers and the individuals in need of assistance.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual or gear is suspended below the helicopter on a 150 to 250 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain.



Jeff
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Glacier National Park Sees Record Breaking One Million Visitors in July

Glacier National Park saw record breaking crowds in July. For the first time, visitation surpassed one million visitors in a single month. The park recorded 1,009,665 visitors, up approximately 23% over visitation last year. Last year was also a record setting year.

In mid-July, the park held an emergency congestion management workshop to begin developing new congestion management strategies for areas outside the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor, including the North Fork, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier. Preliminary solutions include reconfiguring some parking areas and providing time-limited parking adjacent to restrooms and camp stores.

This summer has seen temporary traffic restrictions at all of those locations, as the number of cars looking to enter those areas has far exceeded physical capacity.

In the next week, the park will implement a one-hour time limit for approximately 60 parking spaces up at Logan Pass. The intent of the time limit is to provide an opportunity for people hoping to make a quick stop, use the restroom, take a few pictures, and go for a short walk to be able to do so. The parking lot has routinely filled before 9 am this summer, and continues to be full well into the late afternoon.

“We ask that visitors bring their patience, prepare for significant parking delays, and expect more people on the trails this summer,” said Superintendent Jeff Mow. “Glacier Country has a tremendous amount to offer its tourists. While people wait for times that are less crowded to visit the park, our surrounding public lands and local businesses can offer exceptional opportunities for people coming to see this spectacular region.”

In addition to the increase in visitors, the park also saw a comparable increase in the number of emergency medical calls, and total calls for ranger service. Year to date, the park has seen a 29% increase in emergency medical calls over last year.

July was exceptionally hot and dry and with it came many requests for help. In the last 15 days of July, the park responded to 15 calls for heat exhaustion on the Loop Trail alone.

“Rangers have been stretched pretty thin responding to the increased number of calls this summer,” said Mow. “We deeply appreciate everyone who takes the time to really read up on trail conditions, wildlife safety, and what to bring with you on your trip. Every person who comes to the park well-prepared really helps us out as we strive to meet this increased demand.”

The park has numerous resources on its website for people looking to plan for their trip, including videos about backcountry safety and descriptions of the top hazards in the park. For more information please visit www.nps.gov/glac.



Jeff
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Fire Danger Increased to High in Tetons

Teton Interagency fire managers announce that the fire danger rating is high for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, National Elk Refuge, and Teton Interagency Dispatch Area. The potential for fire activity has increased due to normal summer curing of vegetation combined with hot temperatures, and dry, windy afternoons.

A high fire danger rating means that fires can start easily and spread quickly. When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees; projected weather conditions including temperatures and possible wind events; the ability of fire to spread after ignition; and availability of firefighting resources across the country.

As increased visitation associated with the total solar eclipse approaches, visitors and local residents alike are reminded that unattended or abandoned campfires can easily escalate into wildfires; therefore, it is important that all campfires are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving a site. Campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use.

Visitors have abandoned 56 campfires on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and in Grand Teton National Park so far this summer. Campers should be mindful that they could be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire. Local residents and area visitors are reminded to know the risks, exercise caution, and practice heightened fire safety at all times.

Fireworks are not permitted in Grand Teton National Park, on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, or in the National Elk Refuge. It is critical that everyone comply with this regulation, especially given the very dry vegetation and warm temperatures throughout the Teton Interagency Dispatch Area.

The total solar eclipse on August 21 will take place during peak fire season in Western Wyoming. Visit www.tetonfires.com and agency social media sites to learn more about fire safety and what fire regulations are in place. To report a fire or smoke in Bridger-Teton National Forest or Grand Teton National Park, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.



Jeff
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Procedures for Motorized Watercraft Launch on Lake McDonald

Starting today, August 3rd, Glacier National Park will begin scheduling motorized watercraft inspections and sealing for those boaters wishing to launch on Lake McDonald after a 30-day quarantine period.

The quarantine process is designed to prevent invasive zebra and quagga mussels and other invasive species from entering park waters on motorboats. Glacier National Park sits at the headwaters of three continental scale watersheds, and the introduction of invasive mussels would have significant economic, ecological, and recreational impacts not only for the park but also communities downstream.

The quarantine process will consist of several steps. Please click here for more information.



Jeff
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