011916 Josie's Poached (1)

Jackson Hole News & Guide, by Emma Breysse– Authorities are looking for two skiers who couldn’t resist the lure of forbidden fruit.

Or untouched powder, in this case.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest is looking for anyone who might know the skiers who left a pair of tracks in a clearing on Josies Ridge over the past week. Josies Ridge is an area subject to winter wildlife closures.

Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance Executive Director Craig Benjamin sent out photos of the tracks with one of the organization’s most frequent winter reminders: Don’t poach the powder.

“This is not a scene we like to see,” Bridger-Teton representatives said via social media and email.

“Two skiers have poached the powder on Josies Ridge within closed winter range,” they said. “Don’t be that person who sets bad tracks in closed areas for wildlife.”

Benjamin said he wanted to remind the Jackson Hole community about how wildlife are harmed when disrupted during the winter months and the potential penalties to anyone caught violating a closure.

“When people — or their pets — disturb wildlife it forces them to burn calories that are incredibly difficult to replace while foraging through several feet of snow and can make the difference between life and death,” Benjamin said. “They should also probably know that poaching wildlife closure areas is a crime.”

Benjamin is correct that violating closures is a crime.

Should the Bridger-Teton catch the two rogue skiers whose tracks appear on the slope of the ridge, which is the southernmost point on the ridge that includes Snow King Mountain, they could face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Closures on Josies Ridge, and much of the trail network in the same area, typically last between Dec. 1 and April 30. Closed areas are marked with signs on the trails and noticed at trailheads with the “Don’t poach the powder” slogan.

The forest urged anyone with information about the people who skied Josies to call their anonymous tipline, or Teton Interagency Dispatch.

“Like you, we too often only see the evidence of people and miss the actual people,” they said in the message sent out to the Conservation Alliance. “Anyone who sees anything or anybody can always call us, 307-739-5500 and they can remain anonymous.”

Teton Interagency Dispatch can be reached at 739-3301.

Information on winter closures and maps of areas closed as wildlife winter range, can be found on the Alliance’s website.


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