RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM GRANTS
Since 2001 the Bridger Teton National Forest Avalanche Center has partnered with the Wyoming State Trails program to obtain grants from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The Recreational Trails Program, first established in 1991 and then reauthorized as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), returns a portion of federal gasoline taxes generated by non-highway recreation to the states for trail-related purposes. The RTP is administered by the Federal Highway Administration. A brief summary of these projects is provided below.
Western Trails Avalanche Project
Funds from grants awarded in 2001, 2002 and 2003 were used to purchase and install remote automated avalanche weather stations in the Togwotee Pass/Continental Divide and the Greys River/Southwest Trails Areas. These areas are heavily used by snowmachines but are also frequented by backcountry skiers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, backcountry snowboarders and dogsleds.
This project enabled the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center to issue two new daily area specific avalanche hazard bulletins beginning in November 2001. This project received the 2004 Recreational Trail Program Achievement Award from the Coalition for Recreational Trails. This award recognized this project for its outstanding use of program funds in the category of education and communication.
Avalanche Education and Mapping Project
This ongoing project is using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) technology in combination with the expertise of the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center (BTAC) to map potential avalanche hazards to the Continental Divide and Southwest Trail networks. It also provided funding for the BTAC to purchase snowmobiles and an enclosed snowmobile trailer. The snowmobiles enable the staff of the BTAC to conduct snowpack and avalanche activity reconnaissance missions and give avalanche education presentations to the snowmobile community.