Forest urges visitors to use caution and prevent resource damage

Forest urges visitors to use caution and prevent resource damage as they venture out this spring


With snow melting at lower elevations, the urge to get out on the Forest creates the need for everyone to respect our natural resources through responsible outdoor behavior. Winter is still alive and well at higher elevations. Take for instance the Ashton/Island Park area, which still has over a foot of snow on many of the roads.


Visitation to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest is increasing as more individuals turn to the outdoors to rid themselves of cabin fever. “While our local National Forest remains open, we ask that people be considerate and recreate responsibly,” said Mel Bolling, CT Forest Supervisor. “Many of the roads are still covered in snow. Those that aren’t, are in the awkward time between snowmelt, mud and dry conditions and severe resource damage is possible.”


Know the rules before you go! Soggy spring conditions on trails, roads and hillsides leave land and water resources in a vulnerable condition.  Vehicle use on saturated trails, roads and hillside areas can easily damage the land causing permanent ruts, bog holes and erosion. Ruts and bogs create additional maintenance needs that are costly to repair. Regardless of how many times you’ve visited the area in the past, you need to consider the current condition of the trails or roads you intend to use.


Take a moment to contact your local ranger district before heading out. Several winter wildlife closures remain in place to protect wildlife. Activities such as shed hunting in these areas can have major impacts on already weakened animals, who have used much of their energy reserves to survive the winter.


The Forest asks users to stay on designated travel routes and use good judgment regarding travel on roads and trails not sufficiently dry to prevent resource damage.  If you are leaving ruts in the road or trail surface, you are creating resource damage. Please refer to the district Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) and visitor maps available online at to understand your recreational travel opportunities. Additional closures or restrictions can be made at any time for resource protection or public safety.    


Please remember to review current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and focus on recreating safely while protecting yourself, Forest Service employees and our volunteers. 




Photo: Recent truck found stuck on Forest lands in the Darby area on our Teton Basin Ranger District


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Key Contacts

Sarah Wheeler
Public Affairs Officer
Brian Micklich
Admin. Ops Specialist