On your mark, get set…Bridger-Teton opens for business at midnight

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Winter Wildlife Closures in the Jackson and Blackrock area will lift at midnight tonight signaling the transition from winter to summer regulations regarding travel and camping. That said, access to some areas will be difficult to impossible to restricted due to linger snow and mud conditions.

There is a significant snowpack across the Forest this year and it has been melting off slowly and steadily. However, roads may still be drifted, flooded or just impassable due to lingering snowpack even after May 1. Visitors should be prepared to walk into areas or take their horses. While there won’t be any restrictions to human presence, some roads may not be drivable.

For those planning to search for sheds, the lower Gros Ventre road will open to motor vehicles up to the gate at Slate Creek (which does not open until June 1). Foot, horse and bicycle travel is permitted behind the gate.

Expect some forest roads to be very springlike.

Curtis Canyon road will be open up to the campground with limited parking and turn-around available in the overlook area. The Curtis road beyond the campground is closed due to snow.

Flat Creek road will also be open to the Forest kiosk. Forest personnel will be patrolling to answer questions and remind visitors about the responsibilities that go with summer travel.

Other roads on the Jackson and Blackrock Districts remain closed due to late season snow. This includes the Fall Creek Road, Granite Creek, Shadow Mountain, Ditch Creek, Mosquito Creek, and the North Fork of Fall Creek.

Visitors from near and far begin lining up today for a midnight opening. (Buck)

Forest personnel will be closely monitoring these roads and will open them as soon as they melt out. Due to lingering snow, many trails are still snow covered or muddy. Visitors are reminded to hike and ride dirt or gravel surface, not mud. Trail condition updates are available through the Forest Service and Friends of Pathways.

The Skyline trail is closed May 1 through July 1 to give wildlife the space they need during calving season.

Most designated campgrounds will not open until May 17 but some opportunities are available. Camping at undeveloped sites is limited to 5 days. In the Curtis, Shadow Mountain, Spread Creek/Toppings, and Pacific Creek area, a new system is in place. Visitors will find new services with camping only at marked designated sites.

BTNF officials expect visitors from long distances including areas like Gillette WY; Maybell and Rifle, CO; and even closer communities like Rock Springs and Dubois, WY to look for antlers that have been dropped as wildlife moves from the winter ranges to higher ground.

Once roads open remember to not attempt routes above your skill level and be prepared in case you get stuck. Be aware of damage driving on wet roads can cause, including deep ruts and unauthorized routes. Changes in weather can result in impassable conditions even when roads are open. To learn if a road is open or closed please call the Bridger-Teton National Forest at 307-739-5500 or visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/btnf/recreation for the latest in trail, road and campground conditions.

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