Posts Tagged ‘Jackson Hole’

A walk in the Park…

January 16th, 2012 by Amy Worster

For those of us at Goosewing Ranch once the snow starts accumulating, we start closing up shop.  Just because Goosewing is closed during the winter months doesn’t mean the Gros Ventre valley isn’t booming with life.  For many species, the Gros Ventre is a good place to call home for the winter.

As one might imagine winter in Wyoming can be brutal.  Now think what it might be like if you had to dig through a foot of snow every time you needed a meal.  The Gros Ventre might border Grand Teton National Park, but surviving out here is no walk in the park.  Elk don’t have the luxury of putting on a winter snow suit to stay warm, or opening the refrigerator for a meal.  They must use their front legs and paw at the snow until they dig deep enough to find the grasses underneath.  This will usually burn as much energy as they receive from the meal.  Though the Gros Ventre valley will see extremely cold temperatures, and high winds throughout the winter, it typically receives less snow fall than some of the surrounding mountain ranges.  Lighter snow pack and abundant grasses from the summer make this area a wonderful place to spend the winter, that is, if you‘re an elk.

Life isn’t easy being an elk – you have to deal with weather and deep snow packs, you need to avoid wolves, and be healthy enough to fight off diseases.  Finding an appropriate place to winter is the difference between life and death.  Ranchers have been feeding elk in the Jackson Hole area for close to 100 years.  This still holds true today in the Gros Ventre.  The Gros Ventre valley is home to 3 out of the state’s 22 elk feeding areas.  It makes sense to supplement feeding for them here since elk are naturally drawn to this area.   About 3500-4500 elk will spend the winter around Goosewing Ranch, and the feed grounds.  That number varies depending on the amount of snow fall in the area.  There is a lot of controversy about feeding the elk, but, right or wrong, it is wonderful to see them in our backyard.

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“As the gateway to the Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is the epicenter of guest-ranch vacationing in North America. If one acknowledges that this is the area that sets the standard, then the Goosewing Ranch sets the gold standard.”
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