Forest wants to look at high-use campgrounds, roads

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Bridger-Teton National Forest manages some 37 campgrounds; a select few greatly concern forest officials, primarily those that interface with park land.

Temporary campers have been joined by those in the community choosing to “live” in the forest during the summer months due to the lack of affordable housing in and around Jackson. Conditions in places like Curtis Canyon, Shadow Mountain, and Spread Creek have become more and more crowded in recent years and the Forest Service is looking at ways to reduce user impacts at these campgrounds.

Bridger-Teton will host two workshops to gather public input on motor vehicle travel and camping in the interface zones between the BTNF and Grand Teton National Park. These interface zones include the Spread Creek and Toppings Lake drainages, Shadow Mountain, Ditch Creek, the lower Gros Ventre drainage and Curtis Canyon.

Public input is needed to develop a proposal to reduce resource impacts, enhance public safety, and identify opportunities to improve the visitor experience. BTNF officials are particularly troubled about campfires left burning, food storage violations, occasional criminal activity, and the creation of new illegal roads. At the same time, some existing motor vehicle routes are no longer passable due to wash-outs or landslides. There has also been a shift towards more summer off-highway vehicle travel (i.e. side-by-sides) for scenic driving, and travel routes in the Curtis Canyon area have not yet been analyzed.

The workshops are scheduled for Thursday, January 25 at the Teton County Library, and Thursday, February 8 at the Kelly School. Both workshops will start at 5:30pm.

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