MOOSE, Wyo. (KIFI) — The Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group including Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and Wyoming Game and Fish Department invite backcountry users to join in stewardship efforts to protect bighorn sheep.
The Working Group released a map of Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Winter Zones and is asking skiers to voluntarily avoid these sensitive bighorn sheep winter habitat areas during winter 2022. The georeferenced map is available for download at www.tetonsheep.org and can be displayed on smartphone mapping apps.
As recreationists and outdoor enthusiasts, we all play a critical role in protecting and conserving public lands and the wildlife that call these places home. Being a good steward means being aware of the environment and the health of the wildlife therein, making sure they are able to persist for generations to come.
Bighorn sheep have occupied the Teton Mountain Range for thousands of years, but today this native population is small, isolated from other nearby populations, and at risk of local extinction. Challenges for this native herd continue to increase and public land managers, as well as public land users, have a critical role to play in their future survival.
As one of the smallest and most isolated herds in Wyoming, the native Teton Range bighorn sheep herd is of high conservation value to the Jackson Hole community and millions of visitors from around the world who visit the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem each year.
The Teton Range is big enough for both exceptional skiing and iconic wildlife through responsible recreation and by planning ahead. Habitat loss and other problems facing bighorn sheep predate our current sport of backcountry skiing, but as backcountry skiing continues to grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever to make recreation decisions that will help protect the herd.
The future of our wildlife depends on everyone being good stewards of the Tetons.
The park and other agencies continue to rely on skiers for their help in reporting bighorn sheep sightings in the Tetons. Skiers are encouraged to call 307.739.3488 to report their sightings. Avoid disturbing wintering wildlife by following winter closures at go.nps.gov/tetonclosures.