The Bridger-Teton National Forest is stressing the importance of winter wildlife closure areas. As of December 1, all the winter closure areas are in effect except areas north of the Gros Ventre Road on the Jackson Ranger District. Closures for those will begin December 15, 2020.
Designated winter closure areas are essential to the survival of wildlife. When people or their animals enter closed winter range, wildlife is forced to move to new locations. This retreat requires animals, such as deer, elk and moose, to use energy they cannot spare. This leads to a weakened condition, which can have a direct effect on the animals’ ability to fend off disease or predators and can lead to reproduction problems.
Some high use recreation trails go through or directly along the edge of these closure areas. It is important to stay on the trails and keep pets leashed to minimize any impacts to our native wildlife. Areas like Cache Creek trail head, Teton Pass parking area, Putt Putt Trail and Game Creek have leash requirements around the trailhead and the beginning of the trail not only to protect wildlife but to decrease the chance of user conflicts as well.
As winter conditions set in across western Wyoming it is important to remember that often forest roads can be slick with packed snow and ice, especially more popular roads such as the Gros Ventre Road. Drivers should slow down and use caution, remember forest roads are not maintained in the winter. Have a plan and be prepared, bring extra clothing, food, water, blankets, first aid kit, shovel, tire chains and let someone know your destination and expected day/time of return.
Winter travel maps are available at district offices or online for your mobile device for Android and Apple operating systems. The free app is available for download through Avenza System Inc.: www.avenza.com/pdf-maps. This application along with the PDF maps, will allow you to view your location at all times as you navigate through the forest.