From Staff Reports
A section of a popular scenic drive between Grand Teton National Park and Teton Village, Wyo. has been temporarily closed as a precautionary measure after close encounters between wildlife watchers and foraging grizzly bears.
The Moose-Wilson Road, connecting the village of Moose, Wyo. in Grand Teton to Teton Village and Wilson, Wyo. was closed Thursday until mid-day Saturday, according to a statement released by the Grand Teton public affairs office.
The road may be closed intermittently in the coming weeks due to continuing grizzly bear activity, park officials said.
Numerous vehicles and crowds of people have been crowding together just feet away from foraging grizzlies and black bears, causing a confrontational reaction by some of the bears. Grizzlies bluff charged onlookers as well as to two parked vehicles. Among the bears was a grizzly sow with cubs.
The Moose-Wilson Road is a winding, hilly, rural road popular with sightseers and wildlife watchers, as well as bears. Dense vegetation and wetlands along the roadside often make it difficult for spectators to maintain a safe distance from bears, creating situations where both may be at risk for injury.
Park officials have said they have a long-term plan to realign a portion of the road away from from an area where bears frequently congregate to feed on berries.
In explaining the decision to close the road, public affairs officials noted that National Park Service Management Policies provide guidance to direct the management of park resources, specifically that “when there is a conflict between conserving resources and values and providing for the enjoyment of them, conservation is to be predominant.”
The road is closed to vehicles and any wheeled device—including bicycles—from the Death Canyon trailhead access road to the intersection of the Moose-Wilson and Teton Park roads in Moose. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and Death Canyon trailhead remain open and can be accessed from the south via Highway 390. Law enforcement and science and resource management personnel are actively patrolling and enforcing the closure area.
Local residents and park visitors are advised to plan ahead and use an alternate route because the temporary closure prevents the ability to make a ‘through trip’ on the Moose-Wilson Road.
To alert travelers of the road closure, signs are in place on Wyoming Highway 390. Signs are also placed near the junction of the Teton Park and Moose-Wilson roads to alert motorists heading south to Teton Village from Moose.
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