Hank is awaiting the official press release, but it looks like the powers that be have decided to ban kiting in all of Grand Teton National Park here in Jackson Hole with the one exception of Jackson Lake.
They say that the ban is because of concern for wintering elk, a very legitimate concern, and one which we take into account every time we go out, checking and making sure that there aren's any elk around before launching.
The other reason given was the disturbance of small burrowing critters and birds. As for the mice and such, c'mon guys... As for birds, every time I fly in the park, I get an eagle or two, or hawks or falcons circling around flying with me, they don't seem to be too concerned, just curious.
So, unless we are able to talk some sense into the park rangers, (cross your fingers) then say goodbye to a million acres of the sickest kiteing terrain around... Let's just hope that they have solid science behind thair decision and not just, well, it's new and fun and we don't understand it so... let's ban it!"
We will update this post with the actual press release from the park rangers as soon as it's available.
It always baffles me when people fail to understand the nature of certain sports before banning them from areas. Where we are, we have some huge lakes which are used for water supply and as such you are not allowed on them in summer or winter.
although guys on skidoos tear around on them possibly spilling gas and oil and get away with it to launch a highly visible kite and make tracks with skiis would get me arrested and/or fined plus I would lose my gear.
Authorites need to lighten up. I can see some conerns when it comes to kiting on beaches with large populations of sunworshipers- there is a potential for accidents and probably other beaches to kite from but a whole National Park?
Good luck with your negotiations. Would be nice to offer one of the rangers some kite instruction so they can see just how environmentally friendly the sport is.
Seeems like the snowmobiles should be banned before kiting is banned. Especially if they are only concerned about the wildlife. I can only guess at other motives for the kite ban. At least you still have the lake.
if it looks like you're getting stuck use the forum to start a letter writing campaign. ask people to write in saying "the option to go kiting on varied terrain affects where i spend my winter vacation dollars" (strict honesty not required here). ask the georgetown lake lodge to comment on how much money kiting brings to their community. $$ makes the world go round -- if you can bring in the lost revenue angle (not just current revenue but future revenue as kite skiing becomes more and more popular) then you might have more pull. don't be afraid to exagerate this angle. good luck.
Once again the National Park Disservice would rather promote the consumption of Fossil Fuels (snow mobiles) rather than an environmentally benign activity like snow kiting.
I live on Mount Desert Island in Maine, home of Acadia National Park. The best lake around for windsurfing is closed to it yet you can still run snow machines and outboards on it. Go figure.
But, don't give up hope! If the climbing community can work out solutions twith land managers concerning fixed anchors on federal lands, the Teton branch of the NPS should be ammenable to some sort of compromise. Also, Is this a regional mandate or is this just specific to the Tetons?
They had a similar situation this year and were banned from a location on Lake Michigan at Montrose Beach in Chicago. By working closely with the authorities and suggesting their own plan of action and response, they were able to rescind the ban, and by promoting and practicing good safety measures, they regained their beach launch. It can be done!
Thanks for the good suggestions and support. As I understand it, snowmobiles are already illegal in Grand Teton National Park, but ARE allowed in Yellowstone National Park about 20 miles away.
The NATIONAL Park Service reached a NATIONAL decision to allow each park superintendent to decide whether to allow paragliding or not; this same non-consistent approach and decision making will affect our future here. We're going to organize a meeting with the park superintendent and we'll let you know how it goes.