here’s why refuge pathway is closed

By Jim Stanford on April 14, 2013

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North Highway 89 pathway near Gros Ventre River last fall.

To the chagrin of many cyclists, the Highway 89 pathway north of town along the National Elk Refuge is closed until April 30.

The closure is part of the deal Teton County arranged with the refuge to build the pathway in 2011. Despite a recent plea by cycling advocate Tim Young to open the path early, the refuge is sticking to the specified dates.

The path offers a velvety-smooth ride 10 miles to Moose and another 8 miles to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Only the portion along the refuge, between Jackson and Gros Ventre Junction, is closed from Oct. 1 to April 30 each year; the park sections presumably are rideable when free of snow.

Although it may seem aggravating and bureaucracy at its worst, there is a rationale behind the closure. To better explain it, county pathways coordinator Brian Schilling provided the following list of frequently asked questions. The bottom line: Be patient, people, and let the refuge finish studying impacts.

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Posted under County Government, Environment, Politics, Sports

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elk preparing for start of rifle season

By Jim Stanford on September 20, 2012

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Clad in blaze orange, this bugling bull ought to dodge a bullet in front of Pearl Street Bagels and Wilson Backcountry Sports.

After several weeks open only to archery, elk hunters are set to stalk the forests around Jackson Hole armed with rifles. Hunt area 71, Pacific Creek, opens today, while many more areas open Sept. 26.

Elk are ready to duck and cover, as the above photo suggests.

The grassy area in front of Pearl Street Bagels in Wilson occasionally serves as a stage to make a statement, at least forcing drivers on Highway 22 to do a double-take while returning from Teton Pass or breakfast at Nora’s. Last winter, for instance, “flowers” began blooming suspiciously early on the island.

Either the spot is curated by someone with a good sense of humor, or this adornment of the elk is part of Suzanne Morlock’s latest “Yarn Art” project, in which senior citizens are knitting accessories for statues around the valley.

Update: Artist Morlock did have a hand in bedecking the statue but credits Lisa Ridgway for the idea and doing most of the knitting. Morlock writes about the project on her blog and will discuss the artist’s role as instigator at the next Culture Front forum Sept. 27.

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eye candy from greater Yellowstone

By Jim Stanford on March 27, 2012

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Continuing his transition from still photography to multimedia, David Stubbs has compiled this reel of footage shot within the last year.

Highlights include the full lunar eclipse over Death Canyon in December, a ski trip with Exum Mountain Guides on Teepe Glacier in the high Tetons and paddling the upper Green last fall between Green River Lakes.

David shot some of the Yellowstone and Jackson Lake footage in the moonlight, one of his fortes. And at least one sequence, of surreal clouds in motion, was taken on the very best location: his back porch.

It’s incredible to think all of these moments can be witnessed here in a matter of months, if you’re willing to get up early and get after it.

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hunters find dead body up Cache

By Jim Stanford on November 19, 2011

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Cow elk deceased in vicinity.

Teton County authorities recovered the body of a man found dead today above Cache Creek.

Hunters discovered the body this morning in a draw west of Woods Canyon, a sheriff’s deputy said. The body had been up there at least several days, possibly a week. No foul play is suspected, the deputy said.

The man was from out of town. Teton County law enforcement and searchers set up a base camp at the mouth of Cache Creek during the recovery.

With several feet of snow falling this week, elk have been moving toward the National Elk Refuge, and hunters have had some success on adjacent Crystal Butte. The steep Woods Canyon trail climbs to the top of the butte.

The sheriff’s office is expected to issue a press release with more information.

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bears biting back forest from hunters

By Jim Stanford on November 1, 2011

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Reflection of the Tetons in a remnant channel of the Snake River. Photos were about all I shot in hunt area 75 during the 2009 season.

Sunday’s bear attack on a hunter is likely to cool enthusiasm for those stalking elk in Grand Teton National Park.

Or, at least, for those hunting the Snake River bottom, one of the few backcountry areas open in the park. Aside from the Snake and Blacktail Butte, hunt area 75 is mostly a haven for those preferring to chase ungulates from the comfort of their trucks along the Gros Ventre and Antelope Flats roads.

Hunter Tim Hix, 32, bitten twice by a griz upon surprising it upstream of Blacktail Ponds, is said to be OK. But as the amount of terrain not occupied by grizzly bears each fall continues to shrink, fellow hunters are uneasy. And the latest run-in adds ammunition to the effort by photographer Tom Mangelsen and friends to end the park hunt altogether.

Already hunters are feeling squeezed, as the crowded scene atop Crystal Butte, above the National Elk Refuge, attests. Many of my friends are unwilling to hunt up north anymore because of the threat of grizzlies. And even Crystal is no sanctuary: A hunter reportedly spotted a large grizzly up there earlier this fall.

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