December brought wintry weather to Jackson Hole. Temperatures became frigid spurring animals to move to winter territories. We spotted moose in Grand Teton National Park and herds of elk and deer were seen throughout the valley. The season of winter began with the winter solstice on December 21.
As the days get shorter and temperatures plummet, we feel the intensity of the season. Notice the wintering Trumpeter Swans on the open water throughout Jackson Hole. Keep an eye out for Bald Eagles as they fly above the valley looking for a winter meal. Eagles are scavengers and their primary winter food source is carrion. The month ended with a winter storm bringing in the New Year with fresh snow, great skiing, and big smiles.
There is no overnight parking on town streets until April 15 to help with snow removal. Also, Winter Wildlife Closures are in effect in Jackson Hole. Winter is a stressful time of year for wildlife due to the cold temperatures and deep snow. These closed areas are designed to give wildlife a break from human encounters. It is important that we all do our part to help reduce unneeded stress as they try to survive this time of year. Make sure you know which areas are open for walking, hiking, and ski and snowshoe touring. In addition to these closures, it is also illegal to hunt antlers on state- or federal-owned lands until May 1 to help reduce wildlife stress. Learn more about Shed Antler Hunting Season »
Western governors realize the threat of invasive species and formed a council to target this problem. Both water and range lands have been affected in the West. “Invasive species are costing the U.S. $120 billion every year,” the governors said, “and pose a significant threat to range lands in the West and water systems infrastructure such as hydroelectric dams.” Those threats include feral swine, invasive annual grasses such as fire-prone cheatgrass, and aquatic quagga and zebra mussels. Like all wild species, they don’t recognize state lines, so all Western states are threatened at this time. Learn more »
Happy New Year! As 2020 begins and climate change is becoming more apparent, let’s remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax:
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Each action on our part can help limit our impact on the earth — take public transportation, turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, reduce use of plastic, and remember to reuse, reduce, and recycle. Each action produces a ripple of energy so let’s try to do more for the earth in 2020.
What’s in the Woods
12/4 Jackson, WY – swans flying over town
12/6 Teton Village – ermine running through the Aspens
12/12 Winter storm
12/15 National Elk Refuge – not many elk, large herd in the distance
12/16 Snake River – ravens and bald eagle soaring over waterway
12/17 frigid temperatures
12/21 Snake River at Hwy 22 & 390 – herd of cow elk bedded down and some grazing
12/22 Fish Creek, Wilson WY – bald eagle
12/23 Taggert, Grand Teton Park – two moose
12/25 Snake River, Highway 22 and 390 – two mature bald eagles
12/25 At my birdfeeder in Jackson – magpie, black-capped chickadee and eastern blue jay
12/27 Snake River, Highway 22 – herd of elk trying negotiate traffic, cross the road, and make their way to winter territories
1/1 New Year begins with a winter storm — valley snowy and bright!
Get out and play! Snow is accumulating so there are lots of fun options to explore. January 5 is Free Nordic Day at Turpin Meadow Ranch offering an opportunity to test new gear, ride a fat bike, and tour on snowshoes to learn about the ecosystem. Join us! Details »