EcoWatch

Tourists approach a group of elk for photographs in 2017 near Arnica Creek on Yellowstone Lake before being chased off by a protective cow. Local wildlife biologist Lindsay Jones is surveying the public about wildlife interactions in Grand Teton and Yellowstone.

SHIFT awardees named

What do a Latina-led and -founded environmental nonprofit, a global network of partner cities and a 10-acre land reclamation project have in common?

They’re all recipients of The 2020 SHIFT awards.

This year’s recipients include initiatives such as the Americas for Conservation and the Arts’ Promotores Verdes, Biophilic Cities, and Backyard Basecamp’s 10-acre land reclamation project in Baltimore.

The full suite of SHIFT award winners will be honored at the Oct. 14-16 summit, which will be broadcast virtually from Jackson, where the conference was founded. The 2020 theme is “equity, access and mental health benefits of time outside.”

Learn more at ShiftJH.org.

Avy exploders to be upgraded

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has started work to complete the overhaul of the Gazex avalanche mitigation infrastructure on the north side of Teton Pass.

The exploders date to the 1990s and are being replaced with newer equipment. Two of the propane-fed pipes were replaced in 2015, and the remaining two are being swapped out this year. Work replacing the old infrastructure is slated to occur through Tuesday, then pause before resuming Sept. 2-10.

Along the highway, WYDOT crews will stage on the uphill side of the currently snow-free Glory avalanche path. The area, near mile marker 10, will be closed during the project.

Wildlife interaction survey is up

A Teton Valley, Idaho, resident is looking for resident input on human-wildlife interactions in the greater Yellowstone region.

Lindsay Jones, who was awarded a fellowship through Partners for Wildlife, is querying the public about the types of wildlife interactions they’ve witnessed and dealt with in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.

“Completing this survey will greatly help us better understand what types of interactions are occurring and how to prevent them in the future,” Jones said. “I will then produce educational materials and outreach based on results.

Find the survey online at TinyURL.com/wildlife-interaction. Submissions are due by Aug. 14.

Y’Stone’s opens ‘bile lottery

The lottery for one of Yellowstone National Park’s coveted do-it-yourself snowmobile permits is open for the month of August.

This year’s lottery for the “non-commercially guided access program” runs from Saturday through Aug. 31. Successful applicants will be notified in early September. Unclaimed or cancelled permits will be made available via Recreation.gov on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Oct. 1.

The permits allow for one group of up to five snowmobiles per entrance per day. Trips can be for a maximum of three days in length, and permits cost $40 per day with a $6 application fee.

All snowmobile operators must be 18 years old, possess a state-issued driver’s license and successfully complete the free online certification. All snowmobiles must meet the park’s new “best available technology” standards.

Concessionaire regs to change

The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a proposed rule that changes a number of regulations related to how the National Park Service offers, selects and manages its concessionaire contracts.

The changes concern fee structures, the duration of contracts and incentives for investments in park-owned infrastructure. The Concessions Management Improvement Act, which governs the contracts today, has not been substantially changed in 20 years, according to an Interior Department news release.

People can review the proposed rule and comment online at Tinyurl.com/NPS-concessionaire. Comments are due by Sept. 18.

—Compiled by Mike Koshmrl

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

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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