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Moose Wilson Road Opens — For Now

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The suddenly warm weather has enabled Grand Teton National Park to complete pre-season maintenance and open up the Moose Wilson Road this week.  Park Spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says the park had decided not to plow the road, but to let it melt out – which happened in time for it to be opened to traffic Monday.  However, she adds, it could be closed again at any time due to bear activity there.  She is such a narrow road that it is difficult to manage traffic, people and the proximity to bears; so whenever there are bears on the road or near the road, in order to maintain the 100 yard distance from the grizzly bears and that leads to closing the road when they persist in that area. Skaggs says the specific bears that have been in the area are the cubs of 610 who are now separated from their mother, and are even beginning to separate from each other now.  However, she says the bears are very numerous in the park now and other wildlife restrictions may be put into place as well. She points to the Willow Flats area on the northern end of the park where the Park began implementing a closure during the early season a few years ago.  She explains the closure is related to the elk that are calving in that area and grizzly bears focusing on the newborn calves. She says two other areas are currently closed as well.  Those are the area of Baxter’s Pinacle where peregrine falcons are nesting, and the Elk Ranch area on the east side of the park where wolves are denning. Furthermore, with the elevated bear activity throughout the park, Skaggs reminds those hiking anywhere or even bicycling along the park’s bike paths to carry bear spray and know how to use it.

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