Teton Canyon is home to a wide
range of wild animals.
Moose, Wolverines, Teton Bighorn Sheep (sensitive species on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest), Cougars, Canadian Lynx (threatened, under the Endangered Species Act), Mule Deer, White Tail Deer, Grizzly Bear (threatened, under Endangered Species Act), Black Bear, Great Grey Owls, Boreal Owls, Northern Goshawks and Peregrine Falcons.
Their home is under threat by the proposed expansion by Grand Targhee Resort (GTR) owned and operated by Geordie Gillette. GTR wants to adjust their Special Use Permit (SUP) to include two areas they call The Lightning Trees and the South Bowl (on the upper north side of Teton Canyon) totaling 1,200 acres.
These two areas are designated as 2.1.2 Visual Quality Maintenance by the 1997 Forest Plan. The Forest plan’s goals are to:
- Manage these travel corridors to protect their natural visual quality
- Manage these lands in an environmentally sensitive manner to promote the productions of non-commodity resources at varying levels, and limited commodity production.
- Manage these lands to provide various dispersed recreation opportunities.
- Maintain stand vigor by controlling tree density.
In the winter, these two areas are closed to over-snow motorized vehicles and wheeled motorized vehicles. The purpose of these closures is “to protect wilderness or wildlife in winter ranges and cross-country ski areas.”
To adjust the SUP boundaries the USFS has to amend the current Forest Plan from "2.1.2 Visual Quality Maintenance" to "4.2 Special Use Permit Recreation Sites." This amendment will take away protections that are already in place to protect wintering wildlife and human-powered recreation. It will allow for the building of lifts and roads, and tree removal to create ski runs. They will have to bomb the area to reduce the threat of avalanches. Avalanche control will have a negative effect on the wildlife that live in the area, ultimately displacing them because there is not a way to contain the noise that is created when using bombs.
WolverineWolverine tracks found on the west side of the Tetons.
Clark’s NutcrackersClark’s nutcrackers live in remote, and often hard-to-reach places at high elevations where whitebark pine grow. The tree exists through obligate mutualism with Clark’s nutcrackers: whitebark pine can’t survive without the birds because they open the tree’s cones, remove the seeds, disperse and bury them. A single Clark’s nutcracker can hide up to 100,000 seeds a year.
Moose that live in Teton Canyon