Citizen Science In Bridger-Teton National Forest
Launched in the summer of 2018, Neighbors to Nature is a four-way partnership between the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Friends of Pathways and the Nature Conservancy’s Wildflower Watch. This project engages citizen-scientists to help document wildlife activity, plant phenology, and trail use in the Greater Snow King Area with a goal of accurately and scientifically understanding recreational patterns and ecological trends in the land bordering the town of Jackson.
Species of Interest
- Lion and Bear
- Dusky Grouse on Skyline Trail
What does Neighbors to Nature hope to achieve?
Scientifically robust, long-term data collection will allow us to identify local wildlife hotspots, understand wildlife movements and plant phenology, and establish a baseline on trail use and recreation conditions in popular areas. Data from Neighbors to Nature will be helpful in supporting the sustainability of this public land resource for wildlife, wild land, and diverse recreational experiences for years to come.
Why the Greater Snow King Area?
The Greater Snow King Area (including the areas of Cache and Game Creeks) is comprised of popular, local recreation hotspots that experience high use compared to other areas in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Well maintained trail networks concentrate visitor use and provide access to what is a relatively healthy and undeveloped natural landscape. Prior to Neighbors to Nature, data regarding wildlife movements and human-use was sparse, despite the proximity of these areas to town.
How Can I Help?
Public data collection and input is driving this study! The easiest way to get involved is to become a Jackson Hole Nature Mapper and record your wildlife sightings while you are recreating in the Greater Snow King Area. You can also volunteer to help examine trail camera footage to figure out where the wildlife is hanging out.
“The Cache-Game Creek area is highly valued for providing convenient access that offers non-motorized trail opportunities close to town. It is also valued for its beauty and scenery including the ability to observe wildlife, birds, flowers, and other natural features.”
-Trail User Survey, Bridger-Teton National Forest
October 2018: Trail Cameras Deployed
Winter 2018/2019: Trail Ambassadors Recruited
Winter 2018/2019: Preliminary Results For Year 1
March 2019: Launch of Camera Trap Website For Vetting Images Form Trail Cameras
Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation will recruit volunteers who will scientifically monitor assigned segments of trail within the project study locations for the duration of the program. Volunteers will record “wildlife hotspots” by recording observations from their assigned trails. We have also deployed camera traps to record wildlife activity in several locations when volunteers are not present.
Friends of Pathways will collect trail use data, including using “ecocounters” at trailheads to record numbers users and timing of trail use.
The Nature Conservancy will monitor the occurrence and timing of growth of 12 species of local plants along trail segments. This long-term data will provide context for understanding changes in plant phenology over time
Videos from Trail Cameras
As part of the Neighbors to Nature: Cache Creek Study, JHWF installed a number of trail cameras in select areas for monitoring wildlife near popular recreational trails. On December 12, 2018 at roughly 9:30 am, one of our trail cameras captured a herd of elk moving from the National Elk Refuge into the Cache Creek drainage. They were on the move in front of our camera for over five minutes – that’s A LOT of elk!
Stay tuned for more trail camera footage as it comes in!
Neighbors to Nature in the News
B-TNF Lands Cash for Cache Study
SUNDAY, March 25, 2018
By Mike Koshmrl | Jackson Hole Daily
The Bridger-Teton National Forest has won a $25,000 grant to probe one of Jackson residents’ favorite destinations for a quick near-town mountain bike ride or walk in the woods.
A new project called “Neighbors to Nature: Cache Creek Study” will convene citizen scientists to collect and assess plant, wildlife and trail-use data in the scenic chasm southeast of town. READ THE ARTICLE
Photo: Rugile Kaladyte
Local Partners Awarded National Forest Citizen Science Grant for Neighbors to Nature: Cache Creek Study
FRIDAY, March 23rd, 2018
Joint Press Release from Mary Cernicek | United States Forest Service
Jackson, Wyo. — A new citizen science initiative will be launched this summer to better inform land management decisions in the heavily used Cache Creek drainage. The project is called the.Neighbors to Nature: Cache Creek Study and will establish a 4-way partnership between the U.S. Forest Service’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, Friends of Pathways, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy’s Wildflower Watch. READ THE PRESS RELEASE