By Jim Stanford on March 15, 2013
When I first reported about the passage of state Sen. Leland Christensen’s hitchhiking bill and subsequent signing by the governor, readers inquired whether the law would apply to federal lands and interstate highways.
Sen. Christensen said the change, which removed a prohibition on soliciting rides, definitely applies to interstates. He also said based on a conversation with Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk, he reasoned that the park would follow Wyoming law on the matter.
I followed up with Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs, and she researched the Code of Federal Regulations.
Turns out, hitchhiking already was legal within the park:
36 CFR 4.31 – Hitchhiking
Hitchhiking or reasonably soliciting transportation shall be permitted within Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, EXCEPT:
• Within two tenths of a mile (0.2mi) of an Entrance Station.
• Within 200 feet of a park service office building or visitor center.
• Where vehicles may not safely pull off of the main traffic lane into a pullout or safely onto the shoulder to allow for the passengers to be received safely.
• During the hours of darkness, unless the hitchhiker is wearing bright (preferable reflectively enhanced) clothing.
• When hitchhiking behavior is deemed unsafe or a nuisance by a commissioned Law Enforcement Ranger.
Hikers backpacking the Teton Crest Trail, going up one canyon and down another, can breathe a little easier.