String Lake

Swimmers crowd the shores of Grand Teton National Park’s String Lake in 2016. Parking will be limited at the popular recreation area this Fourth of July weekend to encourage social distancing.

Fourth of July in Jackson Hole is busy, with big crowds, flowing alcohol and ample time on the water.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, federal land managers are asking people to not throw health advice to the wind at crowded areas like String Lake and Snake River Canyon.

No new regulations are afoot, but Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest are requesting responsible behavior, and they’ve made some management tweaks to try to spread people out.

At String Lake, for example, the park won’t allow parking outside of designated spaces, which will help limit mobs there.

“Limited parking will help manage the number of people in the area and allow opportunities for preventative measures related to COVID-19,” park officials said in a statement.

The Bridger-Teton encourages Snake River floaters to avoid hitchhiking and to run shuttles between the West Table and Sheep Gulch ramps instead. Forest staff will be present to manage crowds on the ramps.

“July 4 weekend is one of the busiest of the year on the river, and usually we have visitors pretty much on top of one another,” Wild and Scenic River Manager David Cernicek said in a statement. “With the public health situation ... we must have everybody’s help to protect families and keep the river open.”

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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