Due to the unseasonably cold weather of April and May, spring has been slow to arrive in Jackson Hole. We are about two weeks behind our typical spring bloom. Most days have been wet and depending on elevation, you may experience some rain or snow. A winter weather advisory was posted for Memorial Day weekend. The good news is our mountain snowpack is close to normal. Just a bit of sun and warmth will encourage the flowers to “pop” into bloom. We are on the cusp of amazing color with sunny and warmer weather arriving by the end of the week.
Even with the recent moisture, the Snake River basin is experiencing drought. Summer 2021 was dry and this past winter was mild and did not replenish the reservoirs. Both Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park and the Palisades Reservoir near the town of Alpine will be reduced to low levels to meet the need of Idaho farmers downstream.
The Bureau of Reclamation is responsible for regulating the water flows. They are predicting that both reservoirs will be reduced to 2–10% of capacity — a balance to meet the needs of irrigation and the needs of local trout and other species dependent on our river systems.
Should Yellowstone Bison be protected as a threatened species? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is starting a review to determine if protections are necessary. Each winter many Bison leave Yellowstone National Park, where they are protected from hunting, to reach sufficient forage. Once they leave the park, protection is managed by the state of Montana or Wyoming. Habitat loss and lack of tolerance outside the park are both concerns.
“The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive.
The great opportunity is where you are.”
- Leaves and flowers are slow to develop in Jackson Hole due to a cold spring.
- Lots of Western Tanagers near town. Mountain snow is keeping them in the lower elevations. Males are quite colorful with a red head and yellow breast.
- Grizzly 399 is no longer with her four cubs. They parted ways in May which is normal behavior.
Snow in the high country and recent weather limits hiking options. Both Cache Creek and Josie’s Ridge near Jackson are great spring trails. The Gros Ventre Range has less snow than the Tetons but the road can be rough when rainy. Grizzly Lake is a fun spring hike and a new bridge has helped with early season access.
- Give wildlife space. Remember to give bears and wolves at least 100 yards distance and all other animals at least 25 yards. Recently a woman was badly injured by a Bison in Yellowstone. Animals are wild and can move very quickly.
- Avoid muddy trails. Try to reduce impact by avoiding trails when they are really wet and muddy. Walking or biking on wet trails make ruts that are hard to correct and lead to erosion.
- It has been windy — plan to bring extra layers.