Grand-Teton
Oct 29, 2013 • By

Simple changes help preserve America’s national parks

It was such a pleasure representing Nature Valley during our recent preservation project in Grand Teton National Park.

At Nature Valley we believe the more time you spend in nature, the better you will feel. One way we accomplish this is through our Preserve The Parks initiative.

For the past four years, we have partnered with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) on important restoration projects and raised more than $1.8 million in support of America’s national parks.

Last year we started a project at Grand Teton National Park to modify fencing around cattle grazing allotments within the park (Video). While fences are essential for containing livestock, they can also create obstacles for migrating wildlife. Although many animals are capable of jumping fences, barbed wire strands can snare and entangle their legs. A delay or injury during their migration can be fatal.

The good news is that minor modifications to these fences can significantly reduce the obstacles to migrating animals – all it takes is a little elbow grease and passionate volunteers.

This year, we continued the fence modifications on the 20th Anniversary of Public Lands Day, last month. A group of about 25 volunteers from the NPCA, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, local community and National Geographic’s Digital Nomad, worked on the project.

Grand-Teton

Amanda Weigel and Melissa Arrighi of Nature Valley, with Andrew Evans (National Geographic’s Digital Nomad).

Together we removed the bottom strand of barbed wire and replace it with smooth wire, adjusted the spacing in-between wires, and added wooden top rails to increase visibility. These simple modifications should greatly decrease the risk of entanglement for wildlife such as bison, elk, pronghorn, moose and deer.

In addition to the impact for the migrating animals, it also had an impact on me personally. I didn’t grow up going to national parks (we were more of a beach vacation family), so I wasn’t as close to the cause as many of my Nature Valley co-workers.

Grand-Teton

However, after seeing the beautiful landscape, the variety of wildlife and hearing from the locals who have a true passion for the ecosystem around them – I understand better than ever why we need to care for these protected areas.

If you haven’t already been, I encourage you add a visit to a national park to your bucket list. I think a few days there will have a similar, if not greater impact on you as it did on me.