WESTERN Wyo. (KIFI) – The Bridger-Teton National Forest is stressing the importance of winter wildlife closure areas.
Beginning Wednesday, all the winter closure areas are in effect except areas north of the Gros Ventre Road on the Jackson and Blackrock Ranger Districts. Closures for those will begin December 15.
Designated winter closure areas are essential to the survival of wildlife. When people or their animals enter closed winter range, wildlife is forced to move to new locations. This retreat requires animals, such as deer, elk and moose, to use energy they cannot spare. This leads to a weakened condition, which can have a direct effect on the animals’ ability to fend off disease or predators and can lead to reproduction problems.
Some high use recreation trails go through or directly along the edge of these closure areas. It is important to stay on the trails and keep pets leashed to minimize any impacts to our native wildlife. Some high use trails have leash requirements around the trailhead and the beginning of the trail not only to protect wildlife but to decrease the chance of user conflicts as well.
Winter conditions have yet to set in across western Wyoming, it is important to remember that forest roads may be closed despite being dry and clear of snow. Consult the Motor Vehicle Use Map or MVUM for specifics on when roads close to wheeled and motorized vehicles.
Winter travel maps and MVUMs are available at district offices or online for your mobile device for Android and Apple operating systems. The free app is available for download through Avenza System Inc. www.avenza.com/pdf-maps. This application along with the PDF maps available on the Bridger-Teton National Forest website under the ‘Maps and Publications’ tab, will allow you to view your location as you move across a map.