Areas of the forest to close due to critical winter ranges for wildlife

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Starting yesterday, the Bridger-Teton National Forest begun the travel restrictions and winter range wildlife closures in the forest. These restrictions will be in place until May 1, 2016. The Forest Service states that it is important that all users understand the significance of observing the critical winter range closure. Critical winter range areas have been designated as essential to the survival of wildlife. "When people access closed winter range, the animals using the area flee to new locations. This retreat requires animals, especially ungulates like deer, elk and moose, to use energy they cannot spare," said the Bridger-Teton National Forest in a recent press release. "Further, it usually places them in areas less suitable for grazing and/or browsing, preventing them from gathering the energy they need to survive through the remaining months of winter." This can lead to a weakened condition, which can have a direct effect on the animals’ ability to defend itself, making it more susceptible to predation and disease, and can lead to future reproduction problems in individual animals, according to the Forest Service. Maps of where these winter closures are available at each forest district office, as well as at the Visitor Center on North Cache in Jackson. *Feature Photo: h/t Christina Bergquist / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news