The trail word of the week is High Water! Use caution when crossing creeks and inspect bridges before crossing. In particular Bridge 3 in Cache Creek has water flowing over it, and the Crater and Lower History bridges broke under heavy winter snow load. The trails are holding up well in spite of this with only a few scattered seeps and some damage from creeks flowing onto the trail itself. The crews have been working hard to divert water off the trails back into the creeks, saving the day on Phillip’s Canyon, Blacks, West Game, Game, and Wilson Canyon to name a few. More good news, all of Snow King is open and cleared with the exception a few trees we left at the top of Wilson Canyon just before the wash out to slow people down. The Skyline Trail remains closed until July 1 for elk calving, please respect this closure. Teton Pass is opening up too with good options being Big Rocks, Lower History, Crater, and Black Canyon for the first 2.5 miles. Parallel and the Jumps Trail are dry although Jimmy’s still has some snow and muddy spots. Phillip’s Canyon is clear almost to the Arrow junction and the Ridge Trail is good up to the switchbacks just below rock world. The Ridge would be my recommendation for an out and back adventure this weekend. Remember to tag any problems you see on the trails with #jhtrails as a quick way to let us know where we should go work next week!
The theme of the spring is trees down on the trails. This week the crews cleared 22 trees off of Hagen and Putt Putt, 16 trees off of Crater and Lower History, and a whopping 91 trees off of Ferrins, Wilson Canyon, and West Game. I would suggest that as the outing for the weekend, the burn section is really interesting with all of the trees blown over in the same direction. The upper sections of Cache and Game are still holding snow and have a few wet spots and trees left to clear. Old Pass Road is also open thanks to Team Jackson Hole, it is worth a trip to the top to see the 6 foot banks of snow. The rest of Teton Pass is slowly melting out and trails can be accessed as out and backs from the lower trailheads. If you notice down trees or other trail problems tag them in social media with #jhtrails and we will get out to fix the problem asap!
The trails continue to dry out and the crew had a busy week clearing 162 trees off of Wilson, Ferrin’s, and the Munger Mountain trails. Munger is in good shape with only a few seeps and wet spots and a few trees left on Wally World where we ran out of time and gas. Ferrin’s is dry up to the bottom of the meadow but there are several feet of drifted snow above that. The upper reaches of Hagen and Putt Putt are also slowly melting out and you can make it several miles up Game Creek with a few spots where the creek is on the road or water is bubbling out of gopher holes but it is passable. On Teton Pass Parallel is in good shape and the lower parts of Crater, History, Old Pass Road, Blacks, Ridge, Phillip’s Canyon, and Big Rocks are melting out and make good excursions to find where the snow line is each day. The crew will be clearing trees and cleaning drains there starting next week. Remember when we do get precipitation a good gauge of when the trails are dry enough to not cause damage is when the roads start to dry out. Have a great weekend!
Trails are still slowly melting out with lower Cache Creek and Sink or Swim and below being your best bet for the weekend with the Hagen side still covered in patchy snow and mud. The crew found some carnage this week with a waterfall flowing down the steep section of Wilson Canyon and ~40 trees down on the upper part of Ferrins. The full USFS and FOP crew is on starting Monday and will be clearing the high number of downed trees resulting from the heavy snow and ice load and high winds this winter. We will aim to get Munger and some of the lower trails on Teton Pass cleared early next week!
With the nice weather this weekend there are several trails around Snow King that are in great shape for short excursions. The Sidewalk to Wiggle to Putt Putt link up offers a great 5K loop from the Cache or Nelson Dr. trailheads. The Hagen Highway and Sink or Swim are clear of snow except for the usual 100 ft section as you cross the ski area. All of the lower trails from the Wildlife Lane and Flat Creek trailheads are in good shape and Josie’s Ridge is snow free most of the way to the top. Around the Summit Trail area please stay on the trail and don’t shortcut straight up and down the hill to avoid snow. This causes highly erosive fall line trails to form. Have a fun weekend and enjoy the warm weather!
As usual in early spring there are a few dry trails out there in sunny spots and at low elevations. The trails between Snow King Ski Area and the Winter Wildlife Closure to the west are 99% snow free and dry. They can be accessed via the Rodeo and Pine Drive neighborhood access trails or by hiking up some snow from the base of Snow King. Over in Cache Creek the road and trails on the Hagen side are still covered in snow and passable but starting to get muddy in spots. The Sidewalk Trail is snow free and dry up to the Bridge 2 junction and Putt Putt is 95% snow free from the Cache Creek trailhead to the Nelson Drive trailhead. Remember to try to stay on snow or dry dirt this time of year and if you see yourself gathering mud on your shoes or tires or leaving tracks you are doing damage to the trails.
RESULTS ARE IN FROM TETON TRAFFIC BUSTERS’ OPEN HOUSE
Before the crush of summer traffic, Friends of Pathways and other community organizations invited citizens to engage and share ideas that can be enacted as proactive solutions to aggravating traffic congestion. The goal of the event was to generate community conversation and to invigorate people around positive solutions that can easily be implemented, some as soon as this summer.
Partner organizations shared ideas and available solutions for reducing traffic on 22 and 390, and information about current efforts underway. We explored how we can collectively reduce year-round traffic by invigorating transit, using traffic management tools and other forms of alternative transportation. 125 people attended the event and others participated online, by filling out a survey about transportation options. A summary of the event and survey follows.
TETON TRAFFIC BUSTERS OPEN HOUSE
Prepared: April 30, 2017
Meeting Date & Time: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 4 ‐ 7 PM
Meeting Place: Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center
Before the crush of summer traffic, the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center, Teton Village Association, Snake River Fund and Friends of Pathways invited citizens to help innovate smart ways to take an additional 200 or more vehicles off of Highways 22 and 390, everyday all year-round.
The meeting was announced in a March 22 Guest Shot published by the JH News & Guide and distributed by all four host organizations. It was also placed on the Community Calendar, and advertised in the print & online versions of the JH Daily and JH News & Guide, as well as Facebook. Host organizations invited their contacts via email, as well as the Teton County Commission and key County staff, Mayor & Town Council and representatives from the Teton County Sherriff’s office, WYDOT, START Bus and Pathways.
Open House format, allowing community members to attend when most convenient for their schedule. Refreshments were available, and four stations were set up around the room’s perimeter offering information and soliciting feedback on four themes:
1. Downtown Wilson/Hwy 22
2. Traffic Reduction/Stilson
3. Wilson Boat Launch / Stilson
4. Alternative transportation: pathways, rideshare, START Bus
These stations were manned by staff and volunteers from the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center, Teton Village Association, Snake River Fund and Friends of Pathways. A series of exhibits were displayed and helped generate productive conversations. The meeting was attended by approximately 125 people. Attendees were asked to provide feedback about traffic solutions via a brief written or online survey. Additionally, the board & staff of Old Wilson Schoolhouse conducted one-on-one interviews using the appreciative inquiry approach. In preparation for the meeting, and as a means of continuing to communicate with people about traffic solutions, the Teton Traffic Busters Facebook page was created. It currently has 115 likes, and its posts have been served to more than 5,000 people.
A written and online survey asked people to help generate positive solutions to take cars off highways 22 & 390 that our elected officials can enact so that this summer, and in summers to come, we have fewer frustratingly long lines of traffic. People were asked to answer the questions knowing there are 15 acres at the Stilson park & ride for this purpose, a dedicated stream of revenue from Shooting Star real estate transfer fees for traffic mitigation between Teton Village and the Town of Jackson, and there hasn’t been regularly scheduled START Bus service to/from Stilson in summers past.
The survey was available online from April 15 – 28, and participants were invited to fill it out at the open house – 318 responses were received. A brief summary of the survey responses appears below, and the final survey results including comments are included in the Traffic-Busters-Event-Summary
1. Should the Stilson park & ride be used in peak summer months to reduce traffic?
Yes – 94%
2. What actions would you take to reduce summer traffic? (multiple responses)
Bike or walk to work and/or to run errands regularly – 74%
Use the Stilson park & ride – 55%
Change work schedule/travel habits to avoid peak traffic – 53%
3. If you had $250-500,000/year to help get cars off the road, what’s the first thing you would do?
Schedule frequent START Bus service with regular stops at Stilson year round – 46%
4. What would motivate people to leave their cars at Stilson instead of driving? (ranked)
1 – Scheduled START Bus service every 30 minutes
2 – Bumper-to-bumper traffic on Hwys 22 and/or 390
3 – Paid parking in downtown Jackson
4 – Scheduled START Bus service every hour
5 – Covered bike storage
5. What would make it more convenient for people to park vehicles at the Stilson lot to use the
Wilson boat launch, public access levees, &/or R Park? (ranked, but in a virtual 3-way tie)
1 – Designating ~25 parking spaces nearest the Hwy 390 pathway underpass as “preferred river
2 – Restrooms that are unlocked for use at Stilson
3 – A dedicated bike share hub for river users (Stilson to river & back)
6. What transportation infrastructure would you support funding for? (ranked)
1 – Roundabout at the intersection of highways 22 & 390
2 – Carpool and/or transit lane on Highway 22
3 – Improvements to Stilson (bus stop, bike storage, road and parking)
4 – Widen roads
5 – Additional pathway underpasses on highways 22 & 390
7. How do you think our community should pay for transportation improvements to reduce
summer traffic on Hwys 22 & 390? (ranked)
1 – Use existing Shooting Star real estate transfer fee
2 – Voter approved SPET funds for specific transportation
Download the full Traffic-Busters-Event-Summary
It has been a difficult winter for our trial year grooming singletrack in Cache Creek. We have managed to stay ahead of the storms and keep a little over 9 miles of singletrack groomed for hikers, bikers, runners, and skiers. We are hoping your donations to this bike raffle will allow us to purchase all of the equipment we need to continue this grooming program in future years. If you have enjoyed the trails in Cache this winter or could use a new fat bike, please consider purchasing a raffle ticket. Each $100 donation will get you entered to win a Salsa Beargrease size large from Fitzgerald’s Bicycles. The drawing will be held at the Togwotee Winter Classic Race on March 4th and you need not be present to win. You can donate here: Bike Raffle
We are excited to announce that Friends of Pathways, Mountain Bike the Tetons, and Teton Mountain Bike Tours have worked with the Bridger-Teton to pilot a Singletrack Trail Grooming program in Cache Creek for this winter. This program which is being supported by donations at our Crowd Rise campaign site and will include a mixture of snowmobile and human grooming on 10 miles of trail. Cache Creek saw an average of 286 trail users per day last winter, 66.1% hikers, 14.7% bikers, 10.3% runners, and 8.9% skiers. This program will help to maintain a compact groomed trail surface for all trail users that is wide enough to allow people to pass each other without stepping off into deep snow on the side of the trail. We worked with the BTNF to provide options close to the trailhead as well as additional grooming farther up the drainage to help spread out use. We also are grooming upper Cache Creek road to Noker Mine an extra day each week to help bolster Parks and Rec’s grooming efforts. If you enjoy using the trails in the winter take a look at our Crowd Rise site to learn more about FOP and MBT’s joint venture to groom trails in Jackson, Victor, and Driggs!
Snow King Mountain Resort is proposing a significant expansion on US Forest Service, Town and private lands within Teton County. What role do you think the Town and County should play to ensure this proposed expansion aligns with our Comprehensive Plan?
Candidates for Mayor
Sara Flitner: The question in my mind is, “What role should the community play?” And it should play a big one. Snow King is at the center of our universe in town, and everyone loves it. I support efforts to keep the mountain sustainable, and I also know how sensitive people are to changes. Snow King is coordinating with the Town in terms of process, and I’d like to see them engage in a very robust community process to tease out what people really want to see in the future. I’d like to see conversations, not presentations, and I have complete faith that good outcomes would result. We need a clear vision of what we want the Town Hill to be in 10 or 20 years, and I don’t think we’ve had that conversation yet.town.
Pete Muldoon: The Forest Service has said it will consider the opinion of the Town and County during the expansion approval process. The T & C can’t just rubber stamp these proposals; it must ask for concessions and negotiate on behalf of our citizens. If we can’t find a way forward that benefits the community and advances its goals, the T&C should oppose the expansion.
Candidates for Town Council
Jessica Chambers: The Town and County must ensure the Comprehensive Plan is adhered to if and where possible. If we continue to make exceptions to the vision of the plan and our specified long-term objectives, what is the point of the Plan? I like the golden goose analogy: We have a goose that lays golden eggs; if we kill the goose that provides the egg, we will have no more eggs in the future.
Judd Grossman: The Town and County should advocate that the Forest Service restrict SKMR to the smallest expansion footprint necessary for viability, and make sure that a high priority is given to the preservation of the natural beauty of Snow King. The current expansion proposal is too big.
Hailey Morton Levinson: The Town Council recently had this as a topic of discussion at our public meeting. Snow King is a community asset and deserves community wide conversations. There is publicly owned town land at the base that we have direct influence over. Some expansion involves the US Forest Service lands. I want to see a collaborative process involving all parties so that the community feels heard and so that Snow King can continue to be a viable and sustainable asset to the community. That process may be all of us sitting in a room together or it may be keeping informed of individual processes; either way, the public should be involved and be heard.
Jim Stanford: We should reject expansion of Snow King Ski Area to the east and west to protect wildlife habitat. The town and county should re-examine the outdated master plan for the base area to make sure it is aligned with community needs and matches the vision for recreation on the mountain. I think Snow King should be a community ski area surrounded by a neighborhood, not a commercial amusement park.
Candidates for County Commission
Trey Davis: The Snow King Master Plan governs the goals for the Snow King Resort District, and the expansion to meet such goals, even if outside what was initially envisioned, can be successful and make sense if the Town and County keep it consistent with the current Comprehensive Plan and needs for the community today.
Greg Epstein: Primarily we need to enforce the current Comprehensive Plan and ensure that expansion doesn’t compromise the natural values of the BTNF or public enjoyment and access to these lands. I do believe that Snow King Resort is an important part of the Town of Jackson, and believe it can be developed in a way that aligns with the vision of our community.
Nikki Gill: As someone who learned how to ski on Snow King and was practically raised in the Snow King Sports and Events Center during my years of competitive figure skating and playing hockey, I support improvements to Snow King. Since the opening of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and throughout my whole life, Snow King Mountain Resort has struggled to survive. I’m supportive of any effort to keep our “Town Hill” in operation that aligns with the overall character of our community. Like many in Jackson I don’t want to see Snow King turn into an amusement park, but I also don’t want to see this incredible community resource go to waste. I believe there is way to make improvements and additions to the Snow King Mountain Resort that respects the history of the “Town Hill,” and also blends with the character of Jackson.
Natalia Macker: Teton County has a process in place regarding planning and development which includes opportunity for public comment as well as time for staff and elected officials to review the proposal alongside the Comprehensive Plan. This process includes the public while also ensuring each property owner is treated fairly. I believe that property owners need to go through the process.
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PO Box 2062
20 East Simpson
Jackson, WY 83001
Friends of Pathways supports a vibrant community by promoting sustainable transportation and healthy recreation in Jackson Hole.