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 »
Grand Teton National Park Rangers, Exum Guides & Others Receive Interior Department Awards for Valor and Citizen’s Bravery
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
Today in Washington D.C., Interior Secretary Ken Salazar presented seven Grand Teton National Park rangers with the prestigious Department of the Interior (DOI) Valor Award for their heroic actions during a July 2010 search and rescue for 17 climbers caught in a powerful lightning storm on the Grand Teton. During the special ceremony, one of the park's co-medical directors along with the primary helicopter pilot, one Teton Interagency helitack member, and three Exum Mountain Guides were presented with the Department's Citizen's Award for Bravery for their actions during the same rescue.
Valor Award recipients are Park Rangers Ryan Schuster, Jack McConnell, Marty Vidak, Ed Visnovske, Nicholas Armitage, Drew Hardesty, and Helen Bowers. St. John's Medical Center Doctor AJ Wheeler, Pilot Matt Heart of Helicopter Express, Teton Interagency helitack member John Filardo, and Exum Mountain Guides Dan Corn, Anneka Door, and Brenton Reagan each received the Citizen's Award for Bravery for their critical roles and assistance during the challenging rescue operation. Many lives were saved by the professionalism, skill and courage of the combined rescuers; sadly, one climber died when he fell more than 2,000 feet during the brunt of the storm.
Valor awards are presented to DOI employees who have demonstrated unusual courage involving a high degree of personal risk in the face of danger. The act of heroism is not required to be related to official duties, or to have occurred at the official duty station. Recipients receive a special certificate and citation signed by the Secretary, and an engraved gold Valor Award medal. The Citizen's Award for Bravery is granted to private citizens for heroic acts or unusual bravery in the face of danger. Honorees receive a special certificate and citation signed by the Secretary for risking their lives to save the life of a DOI employee or the life of any person while on property owned by or entrusted to the Interior Department.
The following account describes the Owen-Spalding Lightning Search and Rescue (SAR) mission:
"Although the mission was complex, it was efficiently conducted with no injuries to rescuers or other personnel: a real tribute to the men and women who risked their lives to bring others to safety in the face of a violent summer storm," said Grand Teton National Park Chief Ranger Michael Nash. "The rescue's true success resulted from the local community's ability to come together as a combined, multi-agency rescue force. We appreciate everyone's contribution in making this rescue such an effective mission and one for the history books."
Did You Know?
Did you know that Grand Teton National Park is home to the largest bird in North America? The Trumpeter Swan weighs 20-30 pounds and lives in the valley year-round in quiet open water.