grand teton

Group Trashes Sensitive Teton National Park Land, NPS Seeks Information

The National Park Service is searching for a party of about 50 people who tore up a fragile restoration area with dirt bikes and vehicles.

NPS investigators are looking for information about visitors who intentionally violated park orders and damaged an area along Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park.

On July 18 around 8:45 p.m., the “Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call about a group of people riding dirt bikes in an open field,” NPS reported. “[The group was also] operating a drone along Mormon Row in the park.”

According to statements and cellphone footage, approximately 50 people were there with an unauthorized “organized dirt bike event.” Park rangers responded to the scene, but the group had already left.

Mormon Row contains historic fields that are part of a 10-year restoration project. The damage was approximately 1,000 feet of track 2 to 10 feet in width, reported NPS. The park is asking for any individuals who were in the park around this time to come forward.

Grand Teton’s Historic Fields

The restoration of Mormon Row’s historic hay fields started in 2014 to remove nonnative grasses and replant the area. The park sowed 37 native plant species to try and restore the site to sagebrush. The field is an important habitat for elk, bison, and other wildlife.

Operating a motor vehicle off roadways is a park violation and could result in a $5,000 fine or jail. The NPS also writes that “any person that destroys any NPS resource is liable for costs and damages.”

If you have any information, you can report to the NPS tip line anonymously at 888-653-0009, or email the park’s investigative branch.

Mary Murphy
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Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.