bridger-teton national forest

Last week, the state filed a motion to intervene in support of the Wyoming Game and Fish in a lawsuit over five elk feeding grounds in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Attorney Andrea Santarsiere with Western Watersheds Project, the plaintiff in the case, says concentrated numbers of elk at feeding grounds cause severe damage to land and water quality.  

But feeding grounds have long been used to keep elk and cattle from mingling, thereby stopping the spread of diseases that the two species are capable of exchanging. But Santarsiere says there’s an easier way—fences.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN) introduced a bill Wednesday to address the backlog of trail maintenance in the National Forest Trail system.

One year ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released the results of a study showing that just one-fourth of Forest Service trails were maintained to the agency’s standards, and that the trail maintenance backlog exceeded $314 million—plus $210 million in annual maintenance.

We’re joined now by former U.S. Forest Service employee Brian Stout. He was supervisor of the Bridger-Teton National Forest from 1984 to 1994 and held various other positions in the forest service for the 24 years preceding that.

Stout recently published a book called “Trees of Life: Our Forests in Peril.” He says he wrote the book because he feels that the current way of managing forests is misguided.

EJS, Prior to 1970 / National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Archives Center

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted Monday to impose limits on what types of motorized craft can be used on Teton County’s Snake River, and when.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest, with the help of the Conservation Fund, has added a 37-acre parcel of land acquired from the Jackson Hole Land Trust, protecting the land indefinitely.

The parcel, known as Poison Creek, lies about 15 miles south of Jackson and is considered an important winter habitat for bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer in the area.

Conservation Fund Wyoming director, Luke Lynch, says that there are a plethora of benefits to the state and the land in this deal.

U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Fire danger rose to a “high” rating this week for both Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park, due to a combination of warm weather, low humidity and strong winds.

Traci Weaver, a spokeswoman for Bridger-Teton, says that dry vegetation and a higher-than-usual number of lightning strikes already posed a fire risk… But campers have abandoned more than 100 campfires this season, compounding the danger. Weaver urges campers to be responsible forest stewards.

Tens of thousands of acres of land in the Bridger-Teton National Forest have been retired, protecting the land from energy development. But the conservation group leading the effort, Trust for Public Lands, still has some work to do to protect a tract of land in the Upper Hoback Basin.

The group raised $8.75 dollars last year to buy oil and gas leases on 58,000 acres of land from Plains Exploration and Production Company.

An effort to buy oil and gas leases in western Wyoming to protect the land from development is raising funds at about half the speed needed to complete the $8.75 million deal.
 
 

A Mountain Lion and her two cubs have been active near Jackson’s Cache Creek Trailhead and officials are warning people to be cautious.  Mary Cernicek of the Bridger Teton National Forest says people should try to avoid an encounter. “It’s a good way to protect yourself by not having uncontrolled pets in the area and hang onto the little ones," Cernicek said.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has decided to conduct an additional environmental study and solicit more comments on a proposal to drill in the Upper Hoback Basin of western Wyoming.  The Forest Service made the decision after considering over 60-thousand comments on the proposal by Houston based Plains Exploration and Production Company.  The company wants to drill 136 wells in the area.  The Forest Service will be developing a new alternative for drilling in the area.  Dan Smitherman of the group Citizens for the Wyoming Range is thrilled with the move and says he hopes this will lead

A storm bringing more than 2 feet of snow to parts of Bridger-Teton National Forest last week is raising
alarms about the risk of avalanches just as skiers begin entering the backcountry.

Forecasters at Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center
elevated the slide danger to "considerable" at upper elevations.
Officials say that more than 16 inches fell at Grand Targhee Ski Resort Thursday, with
an additional 10 inches expected through the weekend.