WESTERN WYOMING — As fall season emerges around us, the Bridger-Teton National Forest offers many opportunities that serve the varied desires of both local and visiting recreationists. “Fall is an exciting time to be on the Bridger-Teton National Forest,” says Deputy Forest Supervisor, Kevin Khung. “Of course, hunting and fishing are keynote activities, but photography, camping and exploring continue into their finest months during September and October.”
From scouting for that big-time buck to sighting in your teenager’s rifle, pre-season can be busy. Distracted driving can be fatal on narrow or washboarded mountain roads. So slow down and be aware of animals, terrain and other drivers. Shooting is allowed on national forest lands, and responsible shooters can help retain that option by picking up and hauling away all shooting debris, and by knowing what is beyond the target. Never shoot across roads, trails or waterways, and respect occupied campsites.
Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) are provided free at ranger district offices. A free app from Avenza allows users satellite access to the maps, so even in the backcountry, travelers know when they are on a legal route. Only designated routes, or those shown on the MVUM, are open for motorized uses. Some of those may only allow certain size vehicles or may be open for limited seasons, to prolong the life of the route itself, or to better protect wildlife habitat. The new e-bike is also considered a motor vehicle. Designated routes will have a route number posted on the ground as well. Firewood permits for personal use are available form district offices Monday through Friday for $7 per cord, with a minimum charge of $35 per permit. District office personnel can help you with the best areas to gather firewood.
Dispersed campsites provide lots of flexibility for large groups of hunters, and they can be occupied up to 14 days at a time. Fall visitors are reminded to check first for any fire restrictions that may be in place. This especially includes warming fires out in the backcountry. While temperatures have begun to drop, the rain has been sporadic. Fuels may still be dry, and winds can reignite any fire not completely cool to the touch. Many developed campgrounds—those with vault toilets, potable water, numbered sites and other amenities—will continue to provide garbage and water services into the middle of October.
“Hundreds of miles of maintained trails provide access to magnificent backcountry,” Khung continues. Front desk staff can share information about favorite trail opportunities for hiking, horse riding, or trail vehicles. Kiosks at the forest’s major roadways usually include a map of the vicinity with legal options for trail vehicles.