CASPER, Wyo. — The U.S. Forest Service said on Tuesday, Dec. 1 that winter wildlife closure areas have started to go into effect on the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

All winter closure areas are in effect with the exception of areas north of Gros Ventre Road on the Jackson Ranger District. Closures for those areas will go into effect starting Dec. 15.

“Designated winter closure areas are essential to the survival of wildlife,” the U.S. Forest Service says. “When people or their animals enter closed winter range, wildlife is forced to move to new locations. This retreat requires animals, such as deer, elk and moose, to use energy they cannot spare.”

“This leads to a weakened condition, which can have a direct effect on the animals’ ability to fend off disease or predators and can lead to reproduction problems.”

The Forest Service says that some high-use trails go through the closure areas or along their edges. While people can still access these trails, “it is important to stay on the trails and keep pets leashed to minimize any impacts to our native wildlife.”

“Areas like Cache Creek trail head, Teton Pass parking area, Putt Putt Trail and Game Creek have leash requirements around the trailhead and the beginning of the trail not only to protect wildlife but to decrease the chance of user conflicts as well,” the Forest Service says. “As winter conditions set in across western Wyoming it is important to remember that often forest roads can be slick with packed snow and ice, especially more popular roads such as the Gros Ventre Road.”

” Drivers should slow down and use caution, remember forest roads are not maintained in the winter. Have a plan and be prepared, bring extra clothing, food, water, blankets, first aid kit, shovel, tire chains and let someone know your destination and expected day/time of return.”

The Forest Service says that winter travel maps are available from Bridger-Teton district offices. People can also access maps through a free app available online.