Backcountry Skiing/Splitboarding and Bighorn Sheep in the Tetons
TBCA is working to raise awareness about Teton bighorn sheep conservation issues with backcountry users.
At issue: BC winter recreationists are going farther and farther afield in the Teton high country. Areas of the Teton high country are habitat for a population of bighorn sheep of the Tetons that is threatened. Recent research indicates that Teton bighorn sheep may be avoiding good habitat where there is high backcountry ski activity.
- On November 15, 2019, TBCA held a public gathering where 45 Teton backcountry skiers & boarders, as well as several non-profit and agency staffers, gathered to launch a discussion on how best to balance backcountry recreation and bighorn sheep conservation in the Tetons. The evening included presentations by agency biologists who summarized the status of the sheep population and what is known about the effects of human disturbance. TBCA Steering Committee members, Pistono and Turiano, shared their experiences and perspectives on the topic. Formal presentations were followed by a constructive discussion.
- TBCA is also working with Teton winter mountain guides to raise awareness on the issue, establish a set of best practices, and share observations of bighorn sheep.
- Teton Bighorn Sheep Working Group has solidified plans for a series of four community workshops that build upon one another to develop community-based recommendations for protecting sheep and preserving opportunities for backcountry skiing. Teton Backcountry Alliance supports this collaborative process and intends to participate and assist the effort financially as much as we can. Dr. Jessica Western from the University of Wyoming will lead and facilitate this process. Please click here for workshop dates, locations, and agendas.