Fire Near the Tetons

The Berry Fire in Grand Teton National Park continues to spread to the east and south. The National Park Service issued a bulletin Saturday morning saying that US Highway 89 and the south entrance into Yellowstone National Park will continue to be closed through the weekend.

On Saturday even firefighter traffic was limited through the area due to fire activity and hazards from falling trees.

Since Tuesday the fire has grown along most of the perimeter, especially on the north, east, and south sides, and now covers 12,378 acres. From east to west it is 7 miles wide and it stretches for almost 4 miles along the west shore of Jackson Lake.

The National Park Service is not aggressively fighting the fire, but is managing it for ecological benefits.

Berry Creek provided an early route over the north end of the Teton Range for prehistoric people traveling between (present day) Idaho and Jackson Hole. During and since the era of the fur trappers, Conant Pass was utilized as a way over into Idaho’s Teton Basin.

The historical Conant Trail crossed the Snake River not far north of the mouth of Berry Creek, passed north of Elk Ridge, up Berry Creeksouth of Survey Peak, and over what is called today Jackass Pass. In 1996, USGS geologist J.D. Love pointed out the discrepancy by which the historic Conant Pass became today’s Jackass Pass, and the name Conant Pass misapplied to a pass not far south near Carrot Knoll.

Berry Creek was named for A.J. Berry, who was living at the mouth of the creek around 1900. “Berry Creek” is indicated on the 1899 Grand Teton quad. Conant Pass, basin, creek and trail were named for Al Conant, a homesteader living west of the Tetons.

Beaver Dick Leigh claimed that in 1865, Conant came close to drowning in the creek named after him.

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