Brian Carter, the zoo staffer who's on our board at Park Friends sent along these photos for the blog. Teton Trek opened this weekend to the general public, along with its much anticipated orphaned bear cubs. It also contains wolves (further down) and a lodge meant to evoke the iconic grand lodge at Yellowstone (below).
It's been a rocky road to Teton Trek for the zoo, but the exhibit looks to be marvelous from the inside. I'm looking forward to seeing the bear cubs on my return to Memphis. They will be an asset to the city, and it's good recognition for both Memphis and our zoo that we were chosen to receive them.
Sadly, the exhibit looks less than marvelous from the backside, which is the side of itself that it shows to walkers, bikers, and everyone else enjoying our native Old Forest in Overton Park. Even a number of zoo lovers in the neighborhood have remarked on how ugly the forest road has become with the zoo building storage buildings right out to the road. They were supposed to leave a screen of trees but expanded right up to the fence instead. Brian answered my question about screening and said that the landscaping guys were supposed to be planting some screening plants within the next week, weather permitting. There's not much space left for screening plants, but hopefully now that the rush to get the front of the exhibit ready is over, the zoo will put some serious thought into how to make the back of the exhibit more attractive for their neighbors.
Because of the public backlash over both the clearcutting and the current appearance of Teton Trek, the zoo is working hard to solicit community feedback on their plans for Chickasaw Bluffs, the last of the Old Forest area that is behind their fence. Please take a moment to look at their proposed plan and submit your thoughts on the project.