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Go on an expedition guided by local experts on the "Wildlife" track. Imagine life as a homesteader on the "Art, History & Culture" track with stories of dudes & ranchers, conservationists & artists.
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NORTHBOUND: TOWN OF JACKSON, WY TO COLTER BAY VILLAGE Thanks for bringing us with you on your trip today. TravelStorys has many other tours to help you explore. Tap back to the tour listings to find more tours near you. Visit our website — TravelStorys.com — to offer feedback or to learn more about our incredible tour sponsors. Please consider supporting these organizations that sustain and enhance our favorite places. We can’t wait to meet you back here on another TravelStorys tour. TravelStorys. Play it by ear. Enjoyed your tour? Please tell us in the app store. We’d love to hear from you. SOUTHBOUND:COLTER BAY VILLAGE TO TOWN OF JACKSON, WY Hello, this is Kate Wilmot, Grand Teton National Park’s bear management specialist, to talk to you about bears (www.nps.gov/grte). American Indians have long respected bears and revered them as a symbol of power, strength and courage. Today, people view bears as a symbol of untamed nature and the very essence of wilderness. Although some people may have misconceptions about bears and believe the myths regarding them, the sight of a wild bear roaming across a meadow or through the forest evokes a sense of wonder and awe that cannot be denied. With few exceptions, park visitors are thrilled by the sight of these magnificent creatures and fascinated by their behavior. North America is home to three species of bears. Black bears, grizzly (or brown) bears, and polar bears. The black bear is the most common and widely distributed of the three bear species. Grand Teton National Park sits at the southern end of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the most intact temperate ecosystem in the world, and is one of the few areas south of Canada where black and grizzly bears coexist. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between a black and a grizzly bear and the two species are often confused by uneducated visitors. Here are a few tips to help you distinguish between the two species. For starters, color is very misleading. Black and grizzly bears can be any color – from blond to cinnamon to black. Grizzly bears have long, slightly curved claws and a huge muscle mass over their shoulder - which is referred to as a hump. They evolved in the plains and these physical traits make them excellent diggers and powerful runners. Adult grizzly bears have short rounded ears when compared to the mass of their head and a concave, or dished, facial profile when viewed from the side. Black bears have short, curved claws – they evolved in the forest and climb trees as their primary defense when threatened. Black bears lack a shoulder hump and have tall pointy ears and a straight facial profile from their forehead to the tip of their nose. We tell visitors to look at a combination of characteristics and then make a decision about species. And if you still can’t tell, don’t worry about it. Enjoy watching the bear! You can always bring in a photo to one of the visitor centers and we can help you identify the species later. When Lewis and Clark explored the west it was estimated that 50,000 grizzlies roamed between the Great Plains and the Pacific Ocean. As humans settled the west, grizzly bears were eliminated from the landscape via hunting and trapping. By 1975, fewer than 200 grizzlies remained in Yellowstone National Park – the core of the grizzly recovery area - and the grizzly bear in the lower 48 was listed as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act. Grizzly bear recovery in this ecosystem has been a huge success, with current population estimates in excess of 700 bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Little is known about the black bear population in the Greater Yellowstone and whether it has been affected by the increase in grizzly bear numbers and distribution since the 1970s. Bears are opportunistic omnivores and eat almost anything! Bears can only poorly digest parts of plants and typically forage for plants when they have the highest nutrient availability and digestibility. Black bears are primarily adapted to use forested areas, their edges and clearings and eat grass, fruits, tree cambium, eggs, insects, fish, elk calves, and carrion. Although grizzly bears make substantial use of forested areas, they make more use of large, non-forested meadows and valleys than do black bears. The grizzly bear is better suited to digging and they efficiently forage for foods such as roots, bulbs, corms, and tubers, as well as rodents and their caches. In general, black bears consume more plant material and grizzly bears more meat. Bears will eat human food and garbage whenever they can get it. This is why Grand Teton emphasizes the importance of being Bear Aware! Please keep all human food and garbage secure from bears, day AND night and Never Ever feed a bear. Bears conditioned to human food can be dangerous and must be destroyed. We need YOUR help to keep bears wild and people safe! Bears are generally solitary, although they may tolerate other bears when food is plentiful. Grizzly and black bears breed from May through July, and may mate with multiple partners during a single season. Because implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus is delayed, the embryo does not begin to develop until late November or December, about one month after the mother has denned. This appears to allow her to conserve energy until she enters her den, where in late January or early February she gives birth to one or two cubs, sometimes three, rarely four. At birth the cubs are hairless and blind, are about eight inches (20 cm) long, and weigh from 8 to 12 ounces (224–336 g). The cubs do not hibernate. They sleep next to the sow, nurse, and grow rapidly. Male bears take no part in raising cubs, and may actually pose a threat to younger bears. Grizzly bear cubs usually spend 2½ with their mother, black bear cubs 1½ years, before the mother or a prospective suitor chases them away so that she can mate again. Female cubs frequently establish their home range in the vicinity of their mother, but male cubs disperse farther. Behaviorally, black bears are generally much less aggressive than grizzly bears and rely on their ability to climb trees to allow themselves and their cubs to escape. Grizzly bears are more likely to rely on their size and aggressiveness to protect themselves and their cubs from predators or other perceived threats. Due to the behavioral differences between black bears and grizzly bears, most bear-inflicted human injuries are caused by grizzly bears, usually during unintentional surprise encounters. When backcountry hiking, you can reduce the odds of being injured by a bear by following these safety behaviors: • Be Alert • Hike in groups of 3 or more people • Make noise in areas with poor visibility • Carry bear spray and know how to use it • Do not run during an encounter with a bear The chance to see a bear in the wild is so exciting. You are in a great spot right now so take some time to scan the meadows around Oxbow Bend and Jackson Lake Lodge. And remember, we require visitors to keep a distance of 100 yards away from bears at all times. If you see a bear on the side of the road, please make sure to pull over and get all 4 tires off the white line. Remain in your car or follow the direction of park staff – they are here to protect the resource and provide a viewing opportunity if appropriate.
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NORTHBOUND: TOWN OF JACKSON, WY TO COLTER BAY VILLAGE Not only does the museum display the premier collection of wildlife art in the world, from prehistoric stone carvings to cutting edge contemporary work, the museum illuminates humanity’s relationship with nature and provides historical, cultural and even scientific context for the species you’ll meet while on your visit to Jackson Hole. Wildlife viewing is a top draw year-round for Jackson Hole and nearby Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. And when you visit the National Museum of Wildlife, you’ll have a rare opportunity to view artwork that pays tribute to many animals you might see today: moose, bears, elk, hawk, eagles and more. Get up close and personal with these artful animals in our galleries. If you think the Museum looks like a castle, you’d be correct. Architects were inspired by Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Locally sourced Idaho Quartzite was used on the exterior façade in an effort to purposely blend in with the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. In fact, the main galleries are situated underground, so the inside of the building is deceptively larger than it seems from the outside with 51,000 square-feet! The museum’s unique architecture and setting is the result of a collaboration of building architects, landscape consultants, ecologists, and Grand Teton National Park range managers. This multi-disciplinary team worked together and built a stunning symbol of environmental stewardship. Moving beyond a building, the Museum put half of its 70 acres into a conservation easement with the Jackson Hole Land Trust to help protect wildlife habitat on the East Gros Ventre Butte. Active protection of this land is vital to ensure safe habitat for moose, mule deer, elk, sage grouse and bighorn sheep that frequent the hillside. The Sculpture Trail designed by renowned landscape architect Walter Hood encourages an outdoor experience of wildlife art that’s accessible on foot or by bicycle via the Pathways trail system from Jackson. The National Museum of Wildlife Art award-winning Children’s Discovery Center engages kids with hands-on art projects that bring the collection to life and kid-centric wildlife art exhibitions which delight adults and children alike. We hope you take the time to visit us today. You can also find us online at www.WildlifeArt.org and on Facebook to see what’s happening now. SOUTHBOUND: COLTER BAY VILLAGE TO TOWN OF JACKSON, WY A twelve-foot tall abstract bird looms on the hillside above the highway, a flock of extinct birds stand guard, and a monumental herd of bison thunder by in silence. At the National Museum of Wildlife Art, art imitates nature. Inside you’ll find an unsurpassed and world-class collection of wildlife art. More than 5,000 artworks dating from 2500 B.C. to the present day chronicle much of the history of wildlife in art. Highlights include work by notable artists including John James Audubon, George Catlin, Robert Bateman, Georgia O’Keeffe, Albert Bierstadt, Charles Russell, Robert Kuhn, and Andy Warhol. Many of the artworks in the permanent collection predate photography, which makes them vital representations of the frontier era in the history of the United States. Drive up Rungius Road named after THE leading wildlife artist, Carl Rungius, to experience the National Museum of Wildlife Art! Carl Rungius’ interest in wildlife art began at the Berlin Art Academy where he frequently sketched animals at the zoo. His fascination for learning and painting wildlife continued when he moved to the United States. He spent summers hunting and sketching western big game animals, including moose, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep in the Rocky Mountains, and completed these paintings during the long winters in his New York studio. In the early 1900s, his artwork from expeditions to the Yukon Territory and the Canadian Rockies launched Rungius into the center of America's conservation movement. The National Museum of Wildlife Art is home to the largest public collection of Rungius' work in the United States. Please come inside to see Rungius’ ability to truly capture the heart-stopping chance encounter between man and animal. With an ample amount of paved parking, including an RV lot, the museum is entirely handicap accessible. The Museum provides great family activities and kids can let their creativity run wild. With interesting temporary rotating exhibitions and a busy event and party schedule, there is always something new and exciting happening at the National Museum of Wildlife Art! While visiting the Museum, stop in for a creative lunch experience at Palate, open daily 11 - 3. With indoor and outdoor seating, visitors can enjoy the food and the view overlooking the National Elk Refuge.