Why Are Wildlife Closures Important?
The same “winter-wonderland” conditions which make Jackson Hole a mecca for winter recreation can prove challenging for our valley’s wildlife. While Jackson’s wildlife is adapted to our mountainous climate, deep snowpack and lack of available food still make surviving winter a constant challenge for many species.
Unintentional human disturbance, such as backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, or even off-leashed dogs in critical wintering areas can increase stress at a critical time of year and force animals to burn precious calories needed for survival.
Seasonal wildlife closures zones in Bridger-Teton National Forest and in Grand Teton National Park address this issue by helping to provide safe havens of critical habitat for species, such as elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep.
The Jackson Hole region provides boundless front and back country recreational opportunities. Being Wild Jackson Hole kindly reminds visitors that part of “knowing before you go” is understanding where these limited closures exist.
Respecting wildlife winter closures is one important step to take to ensure our cherished wildlife can conserve enough energy to survive until spring.
You can learn more about the Don’t Poach the Powder campaign of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance here. To view all winter wildlife closures in Teton County, Wyoming in Google Earth go to Teton Conservation District’s Winter Wildlife Closures Map.
Local winter wildlife closures generally go into effect December 1 and continue through April 30th. Dates vary by location and are subject to change.
As backcountry and trail use increases, so does our collective impact on our landscape and wildlife. Targeted seasonal closures of vital habitat during winter and breeding seasons help allow wildlife populations to continue to thrive here in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.