The Bridger-Teton National Forest has installed campsite markers in select areas to better manage the increase in visitor use. The markers will help guide visitors by delineating where vehicles can park off the main road in undeveloped sites along roads in the Shadow Mountain, Curtis Canyon, Toppings Lake, and Pacific Creek, located in the Jackson and Blackrock Ranger Districts. The new site markers display a camping symbol along with a site number, which corresponds with available maps. Large information kiosks recently installed help orient people to available camping opportunities. Many of the sites also have small boards with information about proper food storage, campfire safety, and a pack it in/pack it out message. The markers, maps and kiosks are intended to identify parking locations for dispersed camping and provide key information to prevent wildfires and minimize impacts to wildlife and natural resources. The markers also serve as a reference point that can be used to relay a location to friends or emergency responders. Tents and campsites can still be set up in the location of your choice; the markers just identify the vehicle spurs.
Similar to Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest has experienced a significant increase in visitation, particularly in front country areas near Jackson and Moran. In 2016 there were 92 unattended campfires on the Blackrock and Jackson Ranger Districts, most of which were in these areas. This year there have already been 61 abandoned campfires and numerous food storage violations. The Forest has recorded a number of new vehicle routes as people drive across open meadows and there has been an increase in abandoned vehicles, furniture left on the Forest, and vehicle roll-overs. There has also been an increase in criminal activity putting more pressure on the Sheriff’s office to respond. The Forest has implemented the designated motor vehicle route system since 2009, driven largely by the need to protect habitat for the abundance of wildlife Jackson Hole is known for. However, these trends suggest that more needs be done to manage vehicle use associated with camping, particularly in the Curtis Canyon, Shadow Mountain, and Toppings Lake areas. Blackrock District Ranger Todd Stiles stated that “Our goal is to provide dispersed camping opportunities, while also making sure the impacts to soils and vegetation created by vehicles and fire rings do not continue to grow indefinitely. We want the areas retain their beauty and continue to be desirable into the future.”