Yellowstone roads, Grand Teton pathways open for start of summer travel season

Bicyclists pedal through a mix of snow and freezing rain  south of Moose Wednesday on a newly opened segment of the multipurpose pathway in Grand Teton National Park. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

Bicyclists on Wednesday pedal through a mix of snow and freezing rain south of Moose on a newly opened segment of the multipurpose pathway in Grand Teton National Park. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MOOSE, WYO. — A newly completed extension of the Grand Teton pathway system opened Wednesday, and Yellowstone roads throughout the park are open — all in time for the traditional Memorial Day weekend start of the 2012 summer travel season.

Grand Teton pathways and bicycling map (click to enlarge).

Grand Teton pathways and bicycling map (click to enlarge).

Construction workers have wrapped up efforts on the 6-mile pathway that parallels Highway 26/89/191 from the Gros Ventre River to Moose Junction in Grand Teton National Park, and the new segment opened Wednesday to bicyclists, joggers and others for the first time. A mix of snow, rain and generally dreary weather that included temperatures hovering just above freezing did not deter a few hardy bicyclists and others who tried out the newly opened pathway for the first time.

Meanwhile, scant snow along Yellowstone roads should make for relatively easy early season travel, including on Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone National Park and Beartooth Pass on the Beartooth Highway  starting Friday, May 25.

The opening of Grand Teton’s new Highway 89 pathway segment completes a 12.5-mile stretch that connects Jackson, Wyo. to Moose, Wyo. and the previously opened pathway that runs from Dornan’s in Moose to the south Jenny Lake area. Over 20 miles of multi-use, public pathways now extend from Jackson to Jenny Lake on the Teton Park Road.

The Highway 89 pathway spans both the National Elk Refuge (6 miles) and Grand Teton National Park (6.5 miles). The pathway leg from Jackson to the north bank of the Gros Ventre River crosses land managed by the National Elk Refuge.

Special rules and regulations apply to Grand Teton and Yellowstone roads, as well as the extensive Grand Teton pathway network.

Grand Teton road map (click to enlarge).

Grand Teton road map (click to enlarge).

In Grand Teton, the pathway bisects a key wildlife corridor not previously occupied by people on foot or bike, so park managers have enacted regulations designed to protect animals that frequent that area of Grand Teton National Park.

For example, pets are not allowed on any of Grand Teton’s multi-use pathways, and users will only be allowed on pathways from dawn to dusk.

On all park pathways, bicyclists, inline skaters, hikers and other users will be encouraged to follow basic rules of courtesy and safety. Users should: be alert for bears and maintain a safe distance from all wildlife (especially bison, moose and elk); ride single file and stay on the right side of the pathway; signal with a bell, whistle or voice when passing others; wear appropriate protective equipment such as helmets and pads; observe bicycle speeds that are reasonable to the numbers and safety of other  users; and don’t use motorized vehicles (except for wheelchairs and other smilier devices).

Yellowstone roads and distances.

Yellowstone roads and distances. (click to enlarge)

In Yellowstone, all park entrances are open and the last of Yellowstone roads to be cleared of snow — Dunraven Pass linking Canyon Village and Tower Fall — opens Friday morning, May 25. Also opening the same day is the Beartooth Highway, the section of US Highway 212 outside the park which connects the Montana gateway communities of Red Lodge and Cooke City with the park’s Northeast Entrance.

Besides the effort to open Yellowstone roads, progress is complete on reopening most seasonal visitor services in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Saturday also marks the opening of fishing season in the park. Details are available on the National Park Service webiste, by consulting the park newspaper handed out at entrance stations, or by asking the staff at visitor centers and information stations in and near the park.

There will be no daytime travel delays or overnight closures on Yellowstone roads due to construction during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Park officials advise that spring travelers along Grand Teton and Yellowstone roads  should have flexible travel plans and to be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions.

Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].

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