The pronghorn antelope that migrate 170 miles from Grand Teton National Park south to their winter range face plenty of obstacles: rivers, fences, a high mountain pass, subdivisions, energy development. The most dangerous place in the migration corridor is the geographic bottleneck known as Trappers’ Point six miles west of Pinedale, Wyoming. Here, two rivers swoop toward one another and then apart, outlining a mile-wide strip of land the shape of an hourglass. A subdivision blocks half the bottleneck, and Highway 191, the main roadway connecting I-80 to Jackson Hole, runs across its middle flanked on both sides by barbed wire fences.
Editor's note: Today we're pleased to share a follow-up story to our Freedom to Roam campaign. Patagonia's Rick Ridgeway first teamed up with Joe Riis four years ago to document migrating proghorn and the man-made obstacles they faced.
One October day in 2008 Joe Riis, a National Geographic Young Explorers Grantee, photographed some 700 pronghorn crossing the highway at Trappers’ Point. He was part way into a two-year-long project to document the entire migration in photographs. The animals packed a trail in the snow as they ducked under one barbed-wire fence. They sprinted between cars and trucks on the highway. A dog from the subdivision chased them as they tried to find an opening under the second fence. In a panic, they continued south.
[Above: Wyoming pronghorn and mule deer migrate over the new highway overpass at Trapper's Point, Wyoming. All photos: Joe Riis]