Spring fever: Chomping at the bit

By on April 25, 2013

JACKSON HOLE, WYO - Warmer temps and fast-melting snow has many of us thinking about hitting the backcountry for some long-overdue hiking, biking adventures or horn hunting. Don’t jump the gun, though. It’s not fair to others who play by the rules and it is especially not fair to our wildlife who need the solace during these tough months until forage starts showing up for them.

Paintbrush Canyon (Sarah Zenner)

Paintbrush Canyon (Sarah Zenner)

Park

Grand Teton National Park authorities are telling JH Weekly they expect to be up and running in limited form by May 1. Teton Park Road will be open for regular traffic on May 1. Grassy Lake Road is expected to be clear by June 1. Moose-Wilson, Death Canyon, and Signal Mountain Summit roads will open only when snows melt naturally. Remember, Schwabacher Landing, Spaulding Bay, and Two Ocean Lake areas will be closed for the 2013 season due to budget cuts.

Visitor centers are slowly coming online as well. The Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center is open now. Colter Bay Visitor Center will open May 11; with Jenny and Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (LSR) centers opening on June 1. The Flagg Ranch Information Station will be closed for the 2013 season due to budget cuts.

Two facilities originally slated for closure will remain open in limited capacity thanks to outside funding sources. The Grand Teton Association will help fund operation of the Jenny Lake Visitor Center through revenue from their book sales, and Jackson Hole Preserve has come to the rescue of the LSR Preserve Center with a grant to allow operations there. Both are temporary fixes in place for this summer only and will allow the facilities to operate with a shorter season and reduced hours.

The Gros Ventre Campground will be the first Park campground to open on May 3. Signal Mountain and Jenny Lake will follow with May 10 openings. Colter Bay gets going on May 23. Headwaters Campground and RV Sites will open on June 1 and camping will be allowed n Lizard Creek on June 7.

Lodging facilities will open as follows: Signal Mountain (May 10), Jackson Lake Lodge (May 20), Colter Bay Cabins (May 23), Triangle X Ranch (May 24), Jenny Lake Lodge (June 1), Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch (June 1).

As always, check Grand Teton National Park website for further info.

Forest

Winter closure ends May 1 in most areas. Some areas, however, may have winter closure in effect until May 15. Also, don’t expect all forest roads to be open for traffic on May 1. For instance, the Gros Ventre Road historically remains closed until the road is good and dried out. Mosquito Creek is another gate that won’t be open until closer to June.

Eager horn hunters can legally get a jump on things at midnight on May 1, however, the National Elk Refuge does not open its road – allowing access to national forest – until 8 a.m. May 1. The local Boy Scouts will be picking the refuge clean this Saturday in advance of the hordes that usually lineup for a crack at the forest land bordering the refuge to the north and east.


About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.

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