Grand Teton Protects Bighorn Sheep by Extending Closures

Grand Teton Protects Bighorn Sheep by Extending Closures

Written by on April 28, 2023

Grand Teton National Park has extended two existing wildlife closures to protect bighorn sheep because of persistent winter conditions and deep snowpack at high elevations throughout the Teton Range.

The existing park closures near the summits of Static Peak, Mount Hunt, and Prospectors Mountain are extended through May 15, 2023. Recreational use in these areas is prohibited during this time.

These winter closures have been in effect since the late 1990s and early 2000s to limit disturbance of wintering bighorn sheep. Grand Teton National Park also asks recreationists to voluntarily avoid bighorn sheep winter zones within the park through mid-May.

“Wildlife, including bighorn sheep, need help from all of us after a tough winter,” said Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “We are asking people to be actively engaged in the stewardship of these animals because their survival depends on it.”

This winter has been tough on wildlife populations throughout Wyoming. The bighorn sheep that live in the Teton Range spend the winter at high elevation in extreme conditions.

Spring is challenging for all wildlife, as winter fat reserves have been depleted, and new plant growth is minimally available. Therefore, Bighorn sheep need to conserve their energy to survive.

This is one of many changes and closures throughout Wyoming after the devastating winter season. Wyoming Game and Fish is altering its hunting and antler collecting seasons to lessen the stress on the animals as they recover from winter.

Grand Teton National Park asks visitors to be stewards of bighorn sheep and other wildlife by giving them the space they need.

Grand Teton National Park officials remind backcountry recreationists that it is their responsibility to know where these prohibited areas and winter zones are located. Maps of the closures and zones can be found on the National Park Service’s Grand Teton website and through the Teton Bighorn Sheep Working Group.

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