With its dramatic scenery, ease of access, and wide range of recreational opportunities, the String Lake area of Grand Teton National Park has seen a noticeable increase in visitor use in recent years. Unfortunately this has led to human-wildlife conflicts—including food storage violations—and park officials have decided to take action.
In 2016, Grand Teton National Park developed a program to help protect wildlife and promote visitor safety around the popular String Lake area. With a team of approximately 14 wildlife stewards, Grand Teton formed the String Lake Volunteer Brigade. In its first year, the program proved successful at mitigating human-wildlife conflicts. The volunteers focus on interpretation and education regarding safe recreation in the area, and help promote the Bear Aware campaign by sharing tips for proper behavior in bear country. The team greets and orients visitors, shares information about food storage, and encourages ethical wildlife viewing.
The outstanding work of the volunteers has had a positive impact. Their efforts are helping to protect Grand Teton’s wildlife while providing a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. During the first year of String Lake Brigade there were no significant human-wildlife interactions in the area. After nearly 1,700 hours of volunteer efforts, the Brigade can proudly report zero food rewards at String Lake. The program will continue in 2017, and is always accepting new volunteers.