Grand Teton National Park

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The director of the Wyoming’s chapter of the Conservation Fund, Luke Lynch, was killed in an avalanche on Sunday. Lynch and three others had ascended Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park when a wet slab swept them off the mountain. One other man was seriously injured but two others survived to make a rescue call.

Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says it was the accumulation of fresh snow on top of winter snowpack that created the dangerous conditions.

The Jackson elk herd is not wintering in locations that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department say can support such high numbers. While the overall population of 11,000 is healthy, several locations have more elk than they can support.

The National Elk Refuge and the Snake River Corridor areas are both bursting at the seams with elk this winter. Game and Fish Spokesman Mark Gocke says two issues are to blame animals are migrating down from better range to the north and they have unusually high birth rates this year. He says hunting could help the problem.

Kim Seng, Flickr Creative Commons

The senior wildlife biologist at Grand Teton National Park is retiring after 26 years on the job. During his tenure, Steve Cain worked with state and other wildlife managers to improve conditions for wildlife, not just in the park, but across the 22-million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Rebecca Huntington has more.
 

HUNTINGTON: When Steve Cain first came to Grand Teton in 1989, he was the only biologist, alongside a fisheries expert, overseeing the park's wildlife. The tools he had to work with were pretty limited.

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2014 was a record year for Grand Teton National Park visitations.

The national park had about 2.8 million recreational visits last year. The previous record holder, 1998 was beaten out by 34 thousand visits. Public Affairs Officer Jackie Skaggs says some of the factors that made the park so popular in 1990’s are surfacing again.

AJ Wheeler

From deep powder in winter to a snowpack that lasts into summer, the Tetons offer an ideal proving ground for athletes. But in the mountains, the stakes are high. Skier and climber Jesse Stover sits down with two of his rescuers to talk about the day that one slip turned a perfect adventure into a death-defying fall.

JESSE STOVER: June 4, 2011. It was just an amazing huge snow year. 

The National Park Service has released a report that summarizes public comments on Grand Teton’s Moose-Wilson Corridor management strategies.

The corridor is a heavily traveled, single lane road, in the southern area of the park, from Moose toward Teton Village. The management plan would include road alignment, trailhead location, and access, among other considerations. During a 30-day period, the park received over 25-hundred comments.

Park official Andrew White says many of the comments will affect the next draft of the alternatives. One example, he says, is horses.

John Hebberger

Grand Teton National Park is joining up with a National Parks initiative that would raise the cost of entrance fees.

The proposal would double the price of a 7-day entrance fee to access both Grand Teton and Yellowstone. The parks would also have separate 7-day entrance fees. The fifty-dollar annual pass to Grand Teton and Yellowstone would also be eliminated, instead offering a sixty-dollar annual pass to Grand Teton alone.

Rebecca Huntington

Roy Chambers was born to Ida and Andy Chambers in 1924 in a log cabin still standing on Mormon Row in the shadow of the Tetons in what’s now Grand Teton National Park. Roy worked hard on the family’s homestead cattle ranch. He met his wife, Becky, a nurse at St. John’s Hospital, and they married in 1956. Two years later, they bought the Flying V Ranch (today known as the Gros Ventre River Ranch) and went into the dude ranching business. Roy talks about the joys of running a guest ranch with Rob Cheek, who first came to Jackson Hole as teen-age “dude,” or tourist. 

Rebecca Huntington

Wilson, Wyoming residents Pat Hardeman and Ireen Steeg share memories of Earl Hardeman, Pat’s husband and Irene’s uncle. Earl grew up on a homestead in Kelly, Wyoming, which later became part of Grand Teton National Park. They talk about the isolation of growing up in Kelly and the challenges of daily routines, such as getting to school.

A National Park Service report about a moose death in Gros Ventre Campground last month is facing some criticism from campers and photographers who were at the scene. The original Park Service report says crowding photographers were the main cause for the Bull Moose charging.

Anna Sullivan is a professional photographer who took several photos and videos of the scene showing that, actually there was no one directly around the moose. Sullivan says her video shows a passing diesel truck was more likely to have spooked the moose.  

Linda Peterson

The National Park Service at Grand Teton National Park will be limiting what areas campers can use in the Gros Ventre campground for the rest of this season. That’s after a crowd Wednesday possibly caused a bull moose to charge, resulting in the fatal injury of a female moose.

Public Affairs Officer Jackie Skaggs says people have been getting far too close to animals, in some cases less than ten feet. She says new, plain clothed rangers will be introduced to protect both people and animals.

Mary Beth Baptiste

After her divorce in the early 90s, Mary Beth Baptiste moved to Grand Teton National Park to work as a seasonal employee. Her memoir Altitude Adjustment: A Quest for Love, Home, and Meaning in the Tetons was published this Spring by TwoDot/Globe Pequot Press, and it chronicles her first years at the park.

National Park Service

Millions of people visit Yellowstone each year to see its geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pots. It's the largest concentration of thermal features in the world. The park sits on top of the world’s largest active volcano. Called the Super Volcano. Its most recent eruption was more than 600,000 years ago. All that remains is the top, or caldera.

When you come into the Park they’ll give you a map and it has an overlay of the caldera. It’s huge.

Andreina Schoeberlein via flickr

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park have seen a growing number of people operating personal drones inside park territory.

Last week someone crashed their drone into Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. Park spokesperson Al Nash says the park has struggled to recover the device.

“So far we haven’t been able to spot it. We are actually considering flying an authorized manned helicopter over it to see if we can spot it from the air.”

Last week an employee of Grand Teton issued a citation for drone use, a first for that park.

Rebecca Huntington

What do butterflies, pikas and a challenge course have in common? They're all at the heart of the summer camp experience for teens in Kelly, Wyoming. Bordering Grand Teton National Park, Teton Science Schools offers a perfect setting for campers to study and appreciate nature. But as Rebecca Huntington reports students walk away with a lot more.

“Is this one lupine? Oh there's a painted lady, I think.”

Teton Park

On Tuesday, park personnel recovered the body of Will Cornyn, a hiker in Grand Teton National Park who had been reported missing on Monday. Cornyn was found at the foot of a steep drop near Inspiration Hill after a six-hour search. He is the fifth visitor to die in the park this year.

Most fatalities that occur in the park are caused by risky activities such as rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking in the backcountry.

Park official Jackie Skaggs says that planning ahead, understanding one’s own physical limitations, and being prepared makes for a safer trip.

Tyler Nordgren

An exhibit opening this weekend at the University of Wyoming Art Museum is among the first major displays of astrophotography as art. ‘Starstruck: The Fine Art of Astrophotography’ is a dazzling exhibition, ranging from night skies and landscapes to deep space photography.

National Parks Could See More Money

Apr 7, 2014

President Obama wants to add 55 million dollars to the National Park Service budget, including ten million dollars to get parks ready for their centennial celebration in 2016.   John Garder with the National Parks Conservation Association says the money is needed to address billions of dollars in maintenance.

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After considerable discussion, the Wyoming legislature approved a bill that would let the state and the federal government move forward with finalizing a deal to swap state owned land in Grand Teton National Park with the federal government.  Some senators expressed concern that the federal mineral land won't match the estimated $100 million value of the state's park land, but Jackson Senator Leland Christensen says the bill was changed to ensure the trade will be fair.

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A report by the National Park Service indicates that parks are major economic drivers for surrounding communities.

The report shows that park visitation generated more than $700 million in Wyoming in 2012 and supported thousands of jobs and local businesses. Nation-wide, tourists spent more than $26 billion when visiting parks.

A bill that would allow the federal government to trade mineral rights and federal land for two parcels of state land inside Grand Teton National Park has passed the Wyoming Senate. 

The swap is needed after the federal government backed out of a previous deal to pay the state for the two parcels.  Laramie Senator Phil Nicholas added an amendment that the land would have to be mineral property with proven reserves, so that the swap is worthwhile for the state. 

The National Park Service named a new superintendent for Grand Teton National Park this week. David Vela will replace former superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, who retired last year.

Vela is currently an associate director for the Park Service in Washington DC. He has worked at parks and historic sites in Texas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and directed the Park Service’s southeast region for four years. He says one of his goals is to listen to visitor feedback.

The National Park Service has picked a new superintendent for Grand Teton National Park. David Vela will replace former Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, who retired in November.

Vela is currently an associate director for the Park Service in Washington D.C. and has overseen several other parks and historic sites. He also served as director of the National Park Service’s southeast region.

Vela says he will place a major emphasis on working with park employees and the community.

The State Lands Board voted yesterday four-to-one to support an agreement that would trade 1,300 acres of prime wildlife habitat in Grand Teton National Park for federally-owned property. The state is obligated by law to manage or sell state lands to maximize revenues for the State Education Trust.  But the land in question is appraised at $107 million, if commercially developed.

The Grand Teton Conservation Association’s Sharon Mader says ideally the feds would have bought the land outright, but the swap would still be a great boon for Wyoming schools.  

NPS

In her nine years as Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, Mary Gibson Scott has overseen a number of park improvements from Transportation to a new Visitors Center.  But issues from funding for Parks to protecting wildlife continue to be a concern.  Gibson Scott retires this weekend, so we asked her about a few key issues, such as reforming the Endangered Species Act.

Grand Teton National Park has reopened after the federal government shutdown forced it to close for 16 days. The park furloughed about 200 employees and the remaining crew worked straight through the closure.

Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott says there were significant losses to gateway communities as well as to the park itself.

Trespassing citations have been issued to several people attempting to enter Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks since the federal government shutdown closed the parks.

 Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says that the park is running on minimal staff, with hundreds of employees furloughed due to the shutdown.

 “We have just over a hundred national park service employees on duty on any given day during this shutdown” explains Nash “Across 2.2 million acres mind you, and hundreds of miles of road.”

Visitors are turned away from Grand Teton National Park due to government shutdown
Rebecca Huntington

HOST INTRO: As the government shutdown continues, the impacts are evident in Teton County where the economy is closely tied to federal lands and federal workers. Rebecca Huntington has more from Jackson. 

REBECCA HUNTINGTON: Foreign visitors inspect a three-D model of Jackson Hole and use the public restrooms at the Home Ranch welcome center, located on the main highway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. This is where the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce has set up a temporary table to help tourists locked out of national parks by the government shutdown.

Government shutdown forces national park closures

Oct 1, 2013
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Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are closed as a result of the federal government shutdown.

Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott says visitors staying at campgrounds and hotels in the park have 48 hours to leave. Most park staffers are being furloughed, except for certain emergency personnel.

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.

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