Author: Morgan Graham

Organization: Teton Conservation District

Title: Winter Wildlife Closures in Jackson Hole

People may be aware of seasonal wildlife closures, but despite increased demand for geospatial data, winter recreationists were missing a consolidated map of closures in Teton County. In 2021, Teton Conservation District took on the task of acquiring, vetting, creating, and merging seasonal wildlife closures from six different managing agencies. The final product is a free digital map available in Google Earth format (accessible here). This effort seeks to broaden the impact of established successful programs like the Don’t Poach the Powder campaign. The map can also inform future conversations about impacts of recreation on wildlife, and land management planning such as theupcoming Forest Plan Revision.

The project combined disparate travel zones, routes, dates, and classifications and from Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests, Grand Teton National Park, The National Elk Refuge, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments. The experience provides motivation to encourage interagency coordination of geospatial data stewardship in the future.  Developing universal formatting for cross-jurisdictional datasets boosts their utility for landscape scale planning efforts.

More information on the winter closure map can be found here: Virtual Picnic Briefing, Winter Closure webpage, Morgan’s Nature Notebook episode, Newsletter, and Being Wild Jackson Hole.

Image credits: Morgan Graham

Morgan Graham is the GIS, Wildlife, and Vegetation Specialist for Teton Conservation District. He has contributed to a wide portfolio of natural resource projects since his arrival in Jackson in 2006, including work on songbirds, aspen, water rights, wildlife-vehicle collisions, sage-grouse, conservation easements, and habitat restoration . Much of his work falls back to the monitoring, assessment, and inventory of native plant communities and the ecological processes they support. Morgan thoroughly enjoys working with partnering agencies, non-profits, and private landowners in identifying challenges and developing geospatial products that assist in the appreciation and conservation of the natural world.