B-T Nat'l Forest taking comments on very important travel plan update near Jackson Hole

It’s called the “North Zone travel plan revision,” hardly exciting enough to make your heart pound. But the Forest Service has a very major revision of its travel plans for the area on the east side of Jackson Hole (and other prime wildlife areas) underway, and your comments are due on October 23.

The mighty Teton Range does not have dense wildlife populations, with all that rock and ice, but the more subdued mountains on the other side of the great valley of Jackson Hole do — moose, thousands of elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn, wolves and both kinds of bears. Especially critical is the Gros Ventre/Shadow Mountain area and Togwotee/Blackrock area. Shadow Mtn/Gros Ventre proposed travel plan map. Blackrock/Togwotee proposed travel map.

On the surface it looks like a good idea because now these areas are open to all kinds of cross country vehicle travel, and the proposal will limit them to existing motorized roads and trails.

It is the reality of the situation on the ground that counts, however, not a nice-looking map.

I like to drive my truck around in the area, but each year I see more and more user-created trails, some of them even illegally constructed. The Forest Service would grandfather all of this, including some roads that have been closed for years due to unstable ground and past resource damage.

Here is an example

Here is what the Forest Service needs to hear from you.
1. No designation for motorized use of illegally constructed OHV roads or trails.
2. No reopening of roads that have been gated for years due to resource damage unless the damage can’t happen again.
3. Most important, no access to open ridgetops where OHVs can travel cross country with no fear of being stopped by a ranger. Remember that law enforcement for the Forest Service is grossly underfunded, a joke really.
4. If you know any of these areas near Jackson Hole, comment on them directly.

Send your comments to dwilkinson@fs.fed.us by Oct. 23.

When sending you emails to the Bridger-Teton National Forest, please state your name, address and map area or areas of concern.

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Added. Here is a photo of the off-road vehicle route, Bob Caesar, is talking about in his comment.

This is looking eastward across Ditch Creek from a slope on Shadow Mountain.




  1. Bob caesar Avatar

    PLEASE HELP STOP THE MADNESS!!! ATVs in a classroom, in a kids camp!

    The S. Fork of Ditch Creek on the edge of Grand Teton Nat’l Park is a very special place – home to all the critters of NW Wyoming, including grizzle and wolves, AND it is the home of the Teton Science School. The School operates under a permit from the Forest Service & the National Park, who have designated this area, “Dedicated to conservation & environmental education”. The School teaches youngsters from all over the Nation environmental sciences at very low cost if any. Part of their campus is a camp where the kids live out in the field learning about the natural world.

    Now get this! The Proposed Travel Plan actually designates a route for ATVs and dirt motorcycles RIGHT THROUGH THE TETON SCIENCE SCHOOL’S CAMP. And then winding throughout the very area supposedly designated to “conservation & environmental education”. This is unbelievable, crazy, but they have actually proposed this. Unless we create an uproar ATVs & motorcycles will permeate this area – instead of kids trying to learn what makes Mother Nature click.

    Yes, you can help by emailing dwilkinson@fs.fed.us, by Oct 23, 2006. Please reference: Shadow Mt/Gros Ventre Corridor, and give your name and address. Tell the Forest Service to keep motorized vehicles out of the South Fork Of Ditch Creek, AND out of the Teton Science School’s camp and its outdoor classroom.

    Please do this today! The kids are counting on us!
    I’ll try to post a photo of this area so look for it here
    If you’d feel ok send me a copy of your email: bobcaesar@aol.com
    Any questions contact me.

    Thank Bob Caesar

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I see where the Forest Service is legitimizing illegally created roads and trails on the Medicine Bow National Forest.

    Forest plan backs use of now-illegal roads.

    Rewarding illegal behavior has got to stop. I hope will say this in no uncertain terms to the Bridger-Teton NF.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan