The closure was initiated when numerous vehicles and crowds of people congregated just feet away from foraging grizzlies and black bears, causing a confrontational reaction by some of the bears. One or more grizzlies bluff charged onlookers as well as to two parked vehicles. Because of its narrow surface lined with dense vegetation, hillsides and wetlands, the Moose-Wilson Road does not allow for a safe distance between people and bears, creating situations where both may be at risk for injury. Combined, these factors made it necessary to close the road.
National Park Service Management Policies provide guidance to direct the management of park resources. The policy specifies that “…when there is a conflict between conserving resources and values and providing for the enjoyment of them, conservation is to be predominant.” To ensure that bears can use an important seasonal food source, and to provide for visitor safety, the Moose-Wilson Road closure will continue until grizzly bears move away from the area. Rangers remind park users to Be Bear Aware, as these animals and other wildlife are active throughout Grand Teton National Park.
The road is closed to vehicles and any wheeled device—including bicycles—from the Death Canyon trailhead access road to the intersection of the Moose-Wilson and Teton Park roads in Moose. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and Death Canyon trailhead remain open at this time and can be accessed from the south via Highway 390. Law enforcement and science and resource management personnel are actively patrolling and enforcing the closure area.
Local residents and park visitors are advised to plan ahead and use an alternate route because this temporary closure prevents the ability to make a ‘through trip’ on the Moose-Wilson Road. To alert travelers of the road closure, signs are in place on Wyoming Highway 390. Signs are also placed near the junction of the Teton Park and Moose-Wilson roads to alert motorists heading south to Teton Village from Moose.