By: randosteve|Posted on: April 12, 2010|Posted in: People, Togwotee Pass | 63 comments

I received a very irate phone call from a friend on Saturday afternoon, about some ignorant snowboarders who were using snowmobiles to access some powder on Togwotee Pass. Not really a big deal on it’s own really, but when you cross Wilderness (non-motorized) boundaries that are set aside for those that want peace and quite (and powder)…things can get ugly real quick. Here is his story. –Steve

(On a side note…incidences like these really make me appreciate living near Grand Teton National Park and all of it’s pristine backcountry.  If you think it is important to protect areas from being overrun by snowmobiles, please support Winter Wildlands Alliance.  Thanks.)

Map of area in question, with the Wilderness boundary cutting across the summit of Breccia Peak.
Knowing this area (and seeing these pictures), it sure looks like these cats were in the wrong.
Click photo for larger image.

Wow…well today was an amazing day on Togwotee Pass until I was skinning back to the car and ran into a large crew of bad apple hybrid snowboarders from Jackson poaching Wilderness (I ride a snowmobile and snowboard, so no hate in either category). It is the user’s responsibility to know Wilderness boundaries. Do any of you Jacksonites know these poachers? Guys like these ruin it for other snowmobilers and create a bad name by not knowing and then completely disregarding Wilderness boundaries after being told.


Togwotee Pass Wilderness Poaching by Snowmobiles.

It is my understanding that snowmobiles are not allowed on this bench, east of Beccia Peak.

For a little history, Togwotee Pass is the mecca of snowmobiling and there are few places to escape them…except in the Wilderness miles away the highway. Most backcountry skiers and boarders who ride Togwotee are from Dubois, Lander, and Riverton. These folks do not have the immediate pleasure to access Grand Teton National Park. Our playground is Togwotee and we have to find Wilderness to enjoy quiet, untracked powder. These boundaries are sacred to local backcountry users.

More blatant disregard for the Wilderness boundary.

So today, when I saw this large group poaching Wilderness, I was vocal in letting them know that they were breaking the law, could face a fine, and it is their responsibility to know the Wilderness boundaries as motorized users. I clearly explained and showed them where they needed to be riding so they wouldn’t be in Wilderness.

Hey…I’m lazy and have total disrespect for others and their rules.

Instead of following directions as to where they needed to be to be legal, they continued to argue, said they asked the Ranger and I was wrong and could take it up “with a judge.” They proceeded to snowmobile and highmark above. The conversation became heated with a remaining few, and I let them know I was taking their pictures and calling the Ranger since they wouldn’t leave Wilderness and left their group. 100 yards down was a cross country skier standing there with a map, and one of the snowmobilers coming near us. We flagged him, showed him the map, and explained it again, but his group continued to poach.

And yeah…we don’t have ORV permits to ride here either.

Back at the car, I talked to the Ranger from Black Rock who spoke to them this morning and specifically told them to be careful of the Wilderness boundaries up there. He was hoping to catch them in the parking lot and requested these photos. Sad thing is that it didn’t have to come to all this. Not too funny poaching Wilderness.

You would think hearing that and then an angry lone splitboarder heatedly explaining it to them they would get it…they didn’t. All season people have been poaching this area. We will be helping the Bridger-Teton crew sign this area this summer in order to alleviate conflicts like today, but it is frustrating until then. –Jeramie Prine