Ranger-led programs during September celebrate autumn in Grand Teton

Idaho resident Elesa Shuman paints the Tetons amid fall colors as viewed from the Dornan's parking lot in Grand Teton National Park in this October 2012 file photo.

Idaho resident Elesa Shuman paints the Tetons amid fall colors as viewed from the Dornan's parking lot in Grand Teton National Park in this October 2012 file photo.

To celebrate the special nature of autumn in the Tetons, a variety of ranger-led programs will be offered during the month of September. These programs provide opportunities to learn about park history, geology and wildlife while enjoying fall colors and other park features.

Included in information provided by the park’s public affairs office are fall closing dates for the park’s visitors center.

Moose Area Programs:

Map Chat — 11:30 a.m. daily, a 30-minute talk about geology, park wildlife, and the stories behind the scenery at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center relief map.

Autumn Stroll — 1:30 p.m. daily, a 2.5-hour moderate hike to scenic Taggart Lake. Meet at the Taggart Lake trailhead; bring water, binoculars, camera, sunscreen, and be prepared for variable weather.

Wildlife Caravan — 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. daily, a 3-hour wildlife auto-tour from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Travel to various locations throughout the park to look for and learn about wildlife. Limited to 10 vehicles. Reservations required; call 739.3399 or stop by a visitor center to secure a spot. Dress warmly and bring binoculars and/or spotting scopes.

Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Programs:

Explore the Preserve Hike — 9:30 a.m. daily, a 2.5-hour hike to Phelps Lake to experience the pristine setting of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. Reservations recommended. Call 307.739.3654.

Nature Explorer’s Backpack — 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, children can discover the wonders of nature using the tools provided in a special backpack that can be checked out from the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve Center. After a brief orientation by a ranger, each child receives a journal full of activities to do.

Jenny Lake Area Programs:

Lakeshore Talk — 11:00 a.m. daily, a 30-minute easy walk along the shore of Jenny Lake with talks on a variety of topics from the Jenny Lake Visitor Center flagpole.

Bear Safety — 1:30 p.m. daily, a 20-minute instruction and demonstration in how to stay safe while traveling and camping in bear country. Meet at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center flagpole.

Colter Bay Area Programs:

Teton Topics — 11 a.m. daily, a 30-minute program and travel planner with insights to stories behind the scenery, including geology, wildlife, history, etc. on Colter Bay Visitor Center back deck.

Oxbow Bend Wildlife Watch —6 p.m. daily, a 90-minute wildlife watch offered at Oxbow Bend Scenic Turnout. Bring binoculars, cameras and questions.

Fall programs will be offered through September 22; however, schedules are subject to change. For further information on any of the listed activities, please call the Craig Thomas Discovery Center at 307.739.3399, Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307.739.3594 or LSR Preserve Center at 307.739.3654.

The Craig Thomas, Colter Bay, Jenny Lake and LSR Preserve visitor centers are open daily during most of September.  Closures for park visitor centers the 2013 season are:

LSR Preserve                              September 22

Jenny Lake Visitor Center             September 23

Colter Bay Visitor Center              October 14

The Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center is scheduled to be closed from November 3 to April 7, 2014 as a cost saving measure due to ongoing budget constraints. The decision to close the Discovery Center for the winter season stems from a need to reduce expenses associated with its winter operation (heating, plowing, pathway shoveling, winter staffing, etc.) during a time of low visitation. Customary visitor services will be provided at other locations and via online access or through phone contact.

Education outreach programs to area schools will take place for the 2013-14 winter season, as they have in previous years. A cost-benefit analysis will be done at the conclusion of this winter closure to determine a course of action for future years.

Additional announcements about winter season operations will be made in mid-December.

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