Greys River Ranger District announces temporary moratorium on new recreation event permits

(Afton, Wyo.) - The Greys River Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is working on a number of recreation projects for 2016. Because of the need for focused attention on recreational uses through the western portion of the Forest, Acting Ranger Adriene Holcomb has decided to keep the staff at Greys River focused by announcing a temporary moratorium on new recreation event permits this year. “The Forest Service is required to analyze the effects of any activities taking place on public lands, and our staff is already overbooked with the work we have scheduled,” she explains. “We won’t be able to analyze any changes to existing permits, and any new recreation event ideas will need to be put on a list for analysis next year.” District personnel across the country are moving to policies that require all new permits or requested changes to existing event permits to be submitted during a specified ‘Open Season’. By 2017, the Greys River Ranger District expects to have a similar process in place, to more effectively streamline the efforts of its specialists in getting these permits completed. Because a general analysis has been done to cover the usual impacts of non-commercial, large group gatherings like scout group campouts or family reunions, those permits will still be issued throughout 2016. One strong effort this winter that will benefit recreationist on the District is to secure competitive funding for a second year of two residential Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crews. YCC crews are where the Forest Service offers paid work experiences for teenagers. U.S. citizens or legal residents ages 15 to 18 can apply to YCC positions nationwide. If the Bridger-Teton is successful with funding, this opportunity could yield 6-8 trained young people working for 6-weeks on the District in two separate sessions. Although in the early stages of the application process, the concept right now is to include one 3-week session with crews supported through the Wyoming Conservation Corps and one 3-week session with the Montana Conservation Corps. The District hopes to engage their efforts in protecting important infrastructure—campgrounds, guard stations and trails—that have been deteriorating. Another high-profile project is the Middle Greys Motorized Travel planning effort. This proposal balances various recreation interests, including making improvements for wildlife habitat and addressing the sharp decline in roads funding by utilizing some closed and/or deteriorated roads for a new off-highway vehicle trails network. Recreation specialists lead the team working through the public engagement and multiple-resource analysis, and also must craft a report specific to recreation research to be considered when the District Ranger makes a final decision. The northeast portion of the District will also receive some additional attention this year, thanks to a grant received from the Backcountry Horsemen (BCH) of Jackson Hole. New kiosks are being designed and built for the Bailey Lake and Little Greys trailheads, near Alpine, WY to share information about the landmark Snake River Headwaters Wild and Scenic River designation and the importance of the wildlife value to that national recognition. Education regarding safe recreational practices in bear country and low-impact horse camping will be the focus of these new signs. Bailey Creek is a designated part of the Headwaters, and the Little Greys River trail reaches up and over the divide to Willow Creek, another designated section that is a tributary to the Hoback River. Both areas are extremely popular with equestrian visitors. Of course, regular winter recreation uses also require some focus. District staff groom two ski trails at the top of Salt Pass. Most Forest snowmobile trails are groomed under state contracts, funded by state registration stickers, and trail patrollers help ensure that everyone contributes to this benefit. They also share avalanche information and monitor trailhead conditions. *Feature Photo: Greys River Valley on the Greys River Ranger District. h/t Forest Service / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news