MOOSE, WY— Today, Jan. 14, The Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group released a map of bighorn sheep winter zones and is asking backcountry users to voluntarily avoid winter habitat areas during winter 2022.
According to the press release announcing the voluntary closures, “bighorn sheep have occupied the Teton Mountain Range for thousands of years, but today this native population is small, isolated from other nearby populations, and at risk of local extinction.”
The map depicts winter bighorn sheep zones, existing National Park service closures and recommended designated routes for backcountry users. The geospatial PDF map can be downloaded to devices and used offline.
The Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group worked collaboratively with Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF), Caribou-Targhee National Forest (CTNF), Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and Grand Teton National Park (GTNP).
The Working Group presented their findings and winter strategy recommendations in October 2021 during a public meeting.
Backcountry users advocated for keeping areas open, and agency representatives advocated for voluntary closures and working collaboratively with the backcountry community.
GTNP Superintendent Chip Jenkins attended the meeting in October.
“We all exist in this framework of choices and decisions. Now is our time. The decisions and choices that we all make will be the legacy that we hand down to the next generation,” Jenkins said. “We see the ski and snowboard community as crucial stewards to make sure the bighorn sheep survive.”
GTNP is asking backcountry users to report bighorn sheep sightings in the Tetons. Skiers are encouraged to call 307.739.3488 to report their sightings.
“The Teton Range is big enough for both exceptional skiing and iconic wildlife through responsible recreation and by planning ahead. Habitat loss and other problems facing bighorn sheep predate our current sport of backcountry skiing, but as backcountry skiing continues to grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever to make recreation decisions that will help protect the herd,” stated the press release.