Although the winter is off to a slow start with snow in the valley, there are still lots of people out at the all the trailheads. I’ve been talking to people about wildlife closures, trail etiquette, and the new dog rules.

In general, we are making a big difference with ambassador presence and occasionally enforcement in Cache Creek, Game Creek, Teton Pass and other trailheads. I have had several users approach to tell me it is much better on the Pass and in the Cache Creek area this season. I even had one user give me a big hug when she though I might write her a ticket, but instead, I gave her a leash!

A reminder to everyone that a special order was signed allowing the forest service to enforce a leash law and require pet waste removal at the Teton Pass, Cache Creek, Game Creek and Nelson trailhead and parking areas. The new order allows us as Forest Protection Officers (FPOs) to issue tickets for not leashing or removing pet waste. While we are willing to write tickets, we often inform people of the new rules and give out mutt mitts and leashes to try to improve the number of people following the rules.

I typically patrol Cache/Nelson four or five times a week and often patrol on foot and/or fat bike to contact users beyond the parking area. In addition, we have had some users ignore the critical wildlife closure. Therefore, I consider it important to do daily checks/patrols at the Crystal Butte, Crystal Light and Woods canyon closure boundaries.

Teton Pass is as popular as ever and maybe more-so since we seem to be one of the few areas in the west with adequate snow. A walk through the parking lot shows more out-of-state plates than I have seen in past years. And with that comes the challenge of educating those users not familiar with proper etiquette and the new leash/waste rules. I try to do at least three or four patrols weekly on the pass, which provides an enforcement presence and hopefully helps Jay P. with his job as the Pass Ambassador. BTW, he does an amazing job herding the cats, answering questions and providing friendly advice to all users. Thanks for all you do, Jay.