Grand Teton Lodge Company Echo Day

Grand Teton Lodge Company will participate in a Fence Pull across from Jackson Lake Lodge as part of our contribution for Echo Day on August 7, 2010. The Fence Pull results in allowing wildlife to pass freely throughout the area without being injured. We are inviting members of the Jackson Hole Community and our guests of Grand Teton Lodge Company to volunteer with our employees for an hour of their day and to be part of this effort to improve our environment of Grand Teton National Park.

If this activity sounds like the perfect way to give back to the environment we are excited to have you participate! Plan on meeting at the Jackson Lake Lodge Corrals at 10am on Saturday morning. If possible wear long pants and work type clothes, gloves will be provided for your safety. This event is from 10am-5pm, but even an hour of your time will be a huge contribution to the Fence Pull!

If you want to learn more about what really happens at a Fence Pull please read our blog “The Clearing of Devil’s Rope”. Also, to find more information about Vail Resorts Echo Day – click here!


When: August 7th
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
What: Continue/complete fence pull across from Jackson Lake Lodge
Where: Meet at JLL Corrals
Who: All GTLC Employees, Community, Guests, National Park Service


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Only you can prevent a forest fire!

smokey

Most of us grew up with Smokey’s motto and as we learn more about fire ecology we find we don’t always want to prevent a forest fire.

Fire is important for nutrient recycling, plant diversity and overall landscape health. 

When a fire burns through an area it essentially speeds up the decomposition process and recycles phosphorus, nitrogen and other elements back into the soil.  This creates a nutrient rich area that is now open to sunlight, where sun loving plants can now grow uninhibited. 

The most important thing about fires is that they need to be managed!  The Fire Managers at Grand Teton National Park do just that as they try to balance natural forest health while protecting people and property.

 Fire managers use a variety of plans to achieve their goals:

  • They closely monitor natural fires!  When lighting strikes and sparks a fire, crews take minimal action unless it threatens lives or property. 
  • They use a control burning method!  This can occur for several reasons which include restoring early vegetation environments, diversifying habitats, and to burn accumulated fuels to minimize the risk to developments.  They usually burn in the spring or fall when the weather conditions are more favorable. 
  • They also monitor regrowth areas both immediately after the fire and over the long term to learn more about fire ecology.

If you are interested in seeing the fire scars of Grand Teton National Park, take a hike near Jenny Lake, Taggart Lake or Colter Bay.  

Now does this mean you can leave your campfire unattended?  NO, of course not!  You still need to prevent unsupervised fires! Give yourself an extra hour to burn down your fire, and always be sure to keep enough water nearby to squelch any flair-ups.  Also be aware of Park regulations and report any unattended fires!

Do you want to know more about fire management?   Than check out the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/grte/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm

Want to know more about the fires currently burning in Grand Teton National Park visit: www.tetonfires.com

From Melissa’s Corner
Image credit: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/environmental-destruction-agency-making-parks-coal-friendly.php

The Clearing of “The Devil’s Rope”

 
photo by Don Wells
photo by Don Wells

The history of Range Land in the American West could be defined simply as “before wire and after wire.”  Many historians believe one of the defining moments in the history of the West came when a small bunch of wild longhorn steers stopped and backed away from eight slender strands of twisted wire equipped with sharp barbs. This event happened in 1876 when John W. (Bet-a-Million) Gates erected an enclosure on the Plaza in San Antonio, Texas to demonstrate to gathered ranchers, that newly-invented “Devil’s Rope” could securely contain wild livestock. From that moment on, the West would never be the same again.  This defining event ended the era of open range and the use of free graze which had reigned supreme since the earliest settlers began to populate mid-America.

As early pioneers moved into the Jackson Hole area of Wyoming, the need to use fencing as a range management tool was already well understood.  Even though smooth and barbed wire was available, it was expensive.  And besides that, fence postholes were nearly impossible to dig in this cobble/gravel soil left by our early glaciers.  Our earliest settlers turned to the abundant supply of Lodgepole Pine trees to construct our iconic “Buck and Rail” fences.  Later, with increased modernization, the “Devil’s Rope” would weave its way into Jackson Hole as well.

 photo by Don Wells
photo by Don Wells

John and Frank Craighead began studying Grizzly bear in Grant Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in the late 1950’s.  It became clear through their research that our animal population didn’t understand the concept Park boundaries.  Their studies reflected a significantly larger habitat study area defined as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  From that date forward this ecosystem, the greatest intact temperate zone ecosystem remaining in the world, has and will continue to host scientific studies of all facets of this ecosystem.

Of study interest are the migratory habits of many of our large mammals.  Each year Elk and Pronghorn migrate through this ecosystem.  Pronghorn constitute the second largest migratory heard in the Western Hemisphere – second only to Caribou. Current herd estimates are around 40,000 animals.  Elk seasonally migrate from the National Elk Refuge, North of Jackson, to the Yellowstone Plateau.  Our challenge is the existence of non-used fences that remain in this migratory habitat, dating back to our early pioneer days.  These unused fences block heard travel and often entrap newborn calves.

Each year Grand Teton Lodge Company along with Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, (www.jhwildlife.org)  volunteer to remove miles of both old buck and rail fence line and unused wire fencing.

photo by Don Wells
photo by Don Wells

Take advantage of Grand Teton Lodge Company’s Give and Getaway Program on September 22-23, 2009 and enjoy a private interpretive tour of the Menor’s Ferry Historic District along with the opportunity to participate in the removal of a mile of fence line to improve wildlife migration in Grand Teton National Park.  For more information on this program please call 800-628-9988.  Rates start at $120 per room at Jackson Lake Lodge.

From Don’s Corner

…Where the Pronghorn Play!

A common confusion for the guests of Grand Teton National Park is calling a pronghorn an “antelope.” 

 

Pronghorn in Grand Teton National Park
Pronghorn in Grand Teton National Park

 The pronghorn has had to live with this mistake for quite awhile, so I thought I’d help clear this matter up!

Fun Fact One:  Family

Antelope are a member of the Bovidae family, which also includes cows, bison and sheep.

Pronghorn are the last surviving membe rof the Antilocapridae family.

Fun Fact Two:  Territory

Antelope are found in Africa, Asia and occasionally the middle east.  Their habitat range from grasslands to marshes.

Pronghorn are found in western North America, from Canada to northern Mexico.

Fun Fact Three:  Horns or Antlers

Antelope have a traditional horn which consists of a bony core with a Keratin coating.  (That’s the same stuff our nails are made of!)  Their horns do not branch in any form and they have one set for life.

Pronghorn have keratin growing on a bony core that is pronged in the male and is also shed annually. 

A true classification for ther term “horns” in animals is they are always unbranched and never shed (like the Antelope).  They are also covered with skin like the horns of a giraffe!

Fun Fact Four:  Speed vs. Height

Antelope come in such a variety that some like the Gazelles are very fast, while others like the Nilgai are very slow.  They are also, primarily, decent to great jumpers.

Pronghorn are the second fastest land mammal, second only to the Cheetah!  They have a very high endurance for racing but are very poor jumpers!

Fun Fact Five:  Young

Antelope typically have just one baby at a time.

Pronghorn are known to most commonly have twins!
Bonus Fun Fact: Pronghorns outnumber people in the state of Wyoming!

From Melissa’s Corner!

Wildlife Crossing In Grand Teton National Park

“Pay Attention:  Wildlife On Road!” 

 This sign greets all visitors to Grand Teton National Park, but let me be the first to tell you it is absolutely true!  You never know when you will have something or a herd of “somethings” dash in front of your car… and let’s just say some of the animals in this park will take on a truck and win!

Let’s just take a quick look at a few of the animals I have had cross my path since arriving her in May!

P5010021
A relatively large elk…

Now this buckaroo, decided to mosey across the road right in front of our car.   We were lucky we saw it in time because he would have caused a lot of damage!

 

Bison sml

A Bison…

This guy really doesn’t seem to care who is on the road…but I recommend staying far away from him as they can run up to 30 mph without warning!  In this case, I guess he decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the road!

 

Moosesml
A Moose….

As we came around the bend in the road, she was right in sight.  Luckily she was just beginning the cross and quickly headed into the brush so other cars wouldn’t be surprised by her!

 

Bearsml
A Grizzly Bear….

This guy is definitely the king of our forest.  So when he crosses your path, you definitely want to stop!

Carjamsml

A Car Jam!

I’d say the most dangerous road hazard in Grand Teton National Park can be the other drivers, so pull to the side of the road if to stay clear of other Park visitors if you do see something of interest!  Most speedlimits within the park are 45 mph, that’s to help avoid an encounter with an animal.  We know there is a lot of open road, but the wildlife is abundant as well, and staying safe is everyone’s top priority!   Keep your eyes open because you never know when a bear, moose, elk or bison jam is going to sneak up on you!  

 

From Melissa’s Corner!

GTLC Fun Facts II

Grand Teton Lodge Company was started by the Rockefeller family.

Our employees represent all 50 states  and may have worked for us for decades.  Our longest employee worked for us 52 years on a seasonal basis each summer!

The US/Russia Peace Talks of 1989 were held at Jackson Lake Lodge.

We make nearly 30 gallons of homemade ice cream every day.

The Ranch House Restaurant was developed at Colter Bay to honor the many original dude ranches of the Jackson Hole area where our log cabins originally came from prior to being relocated to Colter Bay.

We have a private meal-site on the banks of the Snake River just under the Snake River Overlook where Ansel Adams took his famous photo of Grand Teton National Park.  Join us for dinner throughout the week and then float a 10 mile section of the river with our guides.

Our staff created the artwork and details for our kid’s coloring book called the Wildwalk Passport…ask for one at the Front Desk.

Between all our operations we employ nearly 1,000 people each summer…approximately 49% of which are returning employees.

Colter Bay Marina is the only location on Jackson Lake where boat slips can be reserved….get your name in now…there is currently a 15 year waiting list!

We hope you enjoy learning a few fun facts about our operations.  If you know of more we’d welcome learning of them, so feel free to make a comment!

Wet N’ Wild ~ Kayaking on Jackson Lake

 

Kayaking is not a new sport to me; however that doesn’t mean I’m ready to barrel roll down the rapids! That being said, I’m perfectly happy to rent a kayak from the Colter Bay Marina and take in a paddle on Jackson Lake.  Last weekend, my boyfriend Sy and I did just that!

 

Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake
Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake

Having done this once before, Sy and I lathered up with sunscreen, donned our safe and stylish life vests, and pushed off into the calm waters of the Marina. We decided on a relaxing paddle around the closest bays, and are very happy we did!

The bays were filled with active water birds.  As we paddled along we watched bald eagles soar overhead, an osprey defend its territory, and saw a blue heron and spotted piper hunting for their lunches along the shore.  We’d like to share some of our photos from that day with all of you!

 

This Bald Eagle Decided that branch looked like a good landing spot.  I love this photo because it reminds me of a flagpole topper!  This guy had a very busy morning.  He soared high above us hunting for his next meal and was chased by the Osprey.  He definitely deserves a nice rest!

 

Our Bald Eagle Sighting
Our Bald Eagle Sighting

This Osprey kept his eyes open for that pesky Bald Eagle.  It was very cool watching him dive bomb the Eagle as he chased him from his territory!

 

The Guardian Osprey
The Guardian Osprey

Can you spot the spotted sandpiper?  I’ll give you a hint….he’s brown and white and is standing on a branch.   

 

The Shy Sandpiper
The Shy Sandpiper

That’s right, he’s right in the middle of the photo.  This Sandpiper was so interesting to watch as he chattered and bobbed his way along the shore! 

  

This Blue Heron was searching the shoreline for some lunch.  I almost paddled right by him until he started moving.   

A Blue Heron Struts Along
A Blue Heron Struts Along

 He was quite shy and flew away when I got closer to him. 

blue heron flying

So if you are in the Tetons this summer, Sy and I definitely recommend coming out to Jackson Lake for a paddle!  If the wildlife is not particularly active that day at least you the have gorgeous view to keep you company!

kayak 3sml

 

From Melissa’s Corner (of the lake)!