• 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 »

  • Moose-Wilson Road Closure

    The Moose-Wilson Road between Death Canyon Junction north to the intersection with the Murie Center Road is temporarily closed to motor vehicles, bicycles, skating, skateboards and similar devices. For current road conditions call 307-739-3682. 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 »

Changes in Store for Elk Reduction Program

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Date: March 13, 2013
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

Grand Teton National Park officials plan to implement changes in the 2013 elk reduction program (ERP)-a National Park Service (NPS) wildlife management program conducted in collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and designed to help regulate the Jackson elk herd. These changes will be made in part to reduce the chance of grizzly bear-hunter encounters. 

On Thanksgiving Day, 2012, an adult grizzly bear was shot and killed by hunters participating in Grand Teton National Park's ERP. This incident followed a 2011 mauling of a hunter by a grizzly bear in the same area. Grizzly bear-hunter conflicts in Grand Teton have escalated as the distribution and density of grizzly bears has increased. 

Grand Teton National Park's establishing 1950 legislation provides for the controlled reduction of elk in the park, when necessary, for the conservation of the Jackson elk herd. Conditions that resulted in this legislation, as it pertains to elk management, persist today. These conditions include large numbers of elk from several herd segments that migrate through the park during the fall, and a continuing need for regulation of the Jackson elk herd to reach the objective of 11,000 animals established by the WGFD and the 2007 Bison and Elk Management Plan. Furthermore, park harvests have contributed about one-quarter of the annual Jackson elk herd harvest in recent years. 

Actions to be executed for the 2013 ERP include: 

  1. Limiting possession of ammunition to seven cartridges daily to decrease the potential for elk "wounding loss," as the adjacent National Elk Refuge (NER) has required for several years.
  2. Limiting the number of shots fired by a hunter at a group of running elk, also to decrease the potential for elk "wounding loss."
  3. Requiring the use of non-lead ammunition by hunters-who are deputized rangers while they participate in the ERP. Beginning in 2009, the NPS required the use of non-lead ammunition by park rangers for all culling operations and for the dispatching of sick or wounded animals. Requiring non-lead ammunition will help reduce lead contamination throughout the park environment, where researchers have documented ingestion of lead from bullets by eagles and other scavengers.
  4. Closing the portion of the Snake River bottom between the Deadman's Bar river access road and Ditch Creek to decrease the probability of grizzly bear-hunter conflicts in an area of thick timber and poor visibility.
  5. Opening to hunting the area between the Gros Ventre River and the road to Kelly, immediately adjacent to the NER and between Gros Ventre Junction and a point just west of the Gros Ventre campground. This measure is designed to increase elk harvest and replace the loss of hunt areas due to closure of the river bottom.
  6. Opening Hunt Area 79 to Type IV Hunt Area 75 license holders for two weeks at the beginning of the ERP season to focus on Grand Teton summer-resident elk and to spread out the hunters. 

Existing measures already in place to mitigate grizzly bear-hunter encounters include:       

  • Prohibiting the use of artificial elk calls.
  • Requiring hunters to carry a can of EPA-registered bear spray in a way that it is readily available for use.
  • Providing camping areas with bear-resistant carcass storage facilities.
  • Providing bear safety literature to all ERP permit holders.
  • Maintaining a high contact rate (approximately 30%) between park rangers and hunters in the field to help inform and educate ERP participants about bear safe hunting practices. 

Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Grand Teton National Park officials meet annually to establish  seasons and harvest goals for the ERP.    

Did You Know?

Close-up of a lodgepole pine cone

Did you know that lodgepole pine trees grow on glacial moraines in Jackson Hole? Glacial moraines are ridges of rocky debris left behind as Ice Age glaciers melted. The soil on these ridges retains moisture and is more hospitable to trees than the cobbly, porous soil on the outwash plain.