Sometimes the biggest obstacle getting to a swath of scenic, prime elk country to hunt is the road you travel to get there.
That was exactly the case south of Grand Teton National Park, in the Bridger-Teton National Forest of western Wyoming.
Pass Creek Road, a dirt road that follows alongside Pass Creek for five miles and serves as an access point to higher elevations of elk country, was a mud bog of a quagmire with deep ruts and alternating berms causing horse trailers to jackknife.
Some pickups ended up high-centered while others turned around and went elsewhere.
The poor makeup of the road also degraded adjacent riparian habitat, flushing sediments downstream.
The solution came down to one of two options – either close it, cutting off access and removing the ability of hunters to help biologists manage game populations, or fix it.
So, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation joined forces with the U.S. Forest Service and local county officials to provide funding and resources to rehab the roadway.
The result is a smooth drive without fear of high-centering or jackknifing followed up by stream-side invasive weed treatment, habitat monitoring and yes, better access for all to nearly 10,000 acres of Wyoming’s high country.
Since 1984, RMEF and its partners opened or improved public access to more than 1.3 million acres of land.