• The Cathedral Group from the Teton Park Road

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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  • Bears are active in Grand Teton

    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

  • Multi-use Pathway Closures

    Intermittent closures of the park Multi-use Pathway System will occur through mid-October during asphalt sealing and safety improvement work. Pathway sections will reopen as work is completed. Follow the link for a map and more information. More »

  • Moose-Wilson Road Status

    The Moose-Wilson Road between the Death Canyon Road and the Murie Center Road is currently open to all traffic. The road may re-close at any time due to wildlife activity. For current road conditions call 307-739-3682. More »

Disturbed Lands

Thistle weeds

Canada thistle often invades disturbed areas and is difficult to remove once established.

 

Events often take place that alter the balance of an ecosystem and affect the species within. Areas can become altered, or "disturbed," through a natural or human-caused occurrence.

Natural disturbances range from earthquakes to fires to floods to volcanic eruptions. Human-caused disturbances include road construction, agriculture, and urban/suburban development. Disturbed lands may be barren, void of plant and animal life, following an incident. Some native species of plants thrive after a disruption of the natural balance. The first returnees to a burned area, for instance, are grasses that take advantage of increased sunlight, decreased shade, increased nutrients in the soil, and lower acidity levels in the soil.

After a disturbance, the topsoil is susceptible to erosion due to landslides after rainfall. Often a disturbed area is threatened by the generation of invasive, non-native or exotic plant and animal species. This is evident along roadsides in Grand Teton National Park that contain fields of Canada thistle, houndstongue, yellow toadflax (butter and eggs), and mullein. These new species do not have natural environmental controls (e.g. predators) and can easily out-compete native species. Eventually disturbed lands may become dominated by non-native species.

Did You Know?

Tetons from the north, photo by Erin Himmel

Did you know that a large fault lies at the base of the Teton Range? Every few thousand years earthquakes up to a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter Scale signal movement on the Teton fault, lifting the mountains skyward and hinging the valley floor downward.