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Visitors traveling through the Moose-Wilson corridor in Grand Teton National Park may encounter researchers along the road, at trailheads, on trails, and in parking areas through October, 2013. Data collection this summer will be led by researchers from Utah State University (USU) though a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service (NPS). These data will be used to inform a planning process that will address future management of the corridor.
Research this summer will help determine visitor use patterns; areas and levels of user-created impacts (such as user-created parking areas and associated trails); and adequacy and efficiency of existing formal parking facilities. A variety of data collection methods will be used, including providing some visitors with GPS units while they visit destinations in, and travel through, the Moose-Wilson corridor. Additionally, researches will install cameras at key intersections to capture vehicle movement and use data from traffic and trail counters to determine levels and patterns of use. No personally identifiable information of visitors will be maintained.
USU professors Chris Monz, Ph.D., and Kevin Heaslip, Ph.D., will lead the research team. Monz and Heaslip have extensive experience collecting these types of data, and Dr. Monz has performed research in other national parks including Yosemite and Rocky Mountain.
The National Park Service is initiating a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) planning process to create a comprehensive management plan for the Moose-Wilson corridor in Grand Teton National Park. At this point, the NPS has initiated internal scoping for the project and assembled a planning team. Later this year, the Park Service will begin a formal public engagement process and seek public scoping comments.
The Moose-Wilson corridor, located in the southwest corner of Grand Teton National Park, is an exceptional area and favorite visitor destination within the park that has a remarkable diversity of wildlife and habitat. These unmatched natural communities are located within a geographical area that is about seven miles in length, five miles in width, and 15,000 acres in size. The corridor is delineated by the Teton Range to the west, the Snake River to the east, the community of Moose to the north, and the park's Granite Canyon entrance to the south.