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.

Download the full Traffic-Busters-Event-Summary–>

 

SUMMARY OF
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

Meeting Intent:

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.


Meeting Announcement:

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.


Meeting Format:

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.

Surveys:

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

access parking”

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

win-this-bike

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

winter-grooming-map-small

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?

From the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance


Candidates for Mayor

sara-flitnerSara 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-muldoonPete 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-chambersJessica 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-grossmanJudd 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.

 

 

haileyHailey 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-stanfordJim 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

treyTrey 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.

 

 

gregGreg 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.

 

 

nikkiNikki 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.

nataliaNatalia 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.

Vote ‘FOR’ the county sales and use tax


THE FACTS:
– The tax will fund worker housing and transportation projects. 

– The amount of tax you pay will NOT increase.

– Visitors pay roughly 2/3 of general sales tax.

 

This is not a blank check:

Both the town and county have created a special revenue fund to assure that tax proceeds will be used for transportation and housing. A specific budget structure will allow transparency in tracking the receipt and expenditure of any funds collected as a result of this ballot initiative.

Why doesn’t the ballot language say anything about housing and transportation?
The general sales tax cannot be legally bound to a specific project (hence the restriction on the ballot language); however, the town and county have both passed resolutions committing the revenues from this general purpose tax to the community priorities of housing and transportation.

Will my tax rate increase?
No.   The sale tax rate has been 6% since 1993.

  • Currently there is a 1% Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) in place funding the remediation of the West Broadway Landslide.  Funds for this project will be collected by April of 2017.  Once the funds have been collected this 1% tax will cease, dropping the tax rate to 5%.
  • If the General Revenue Tax is approved, then the collections will begin in April, 2017 (once the SPET tax ceases) effectively keeping the sales tax rate at 6%.

Why not SPET?
Both the Housing Action Plan and the Integrated Transportation Plan require ongoing, predictable, and reliable funding. In Teton County, sales tax is the best way of doing this. The general revenue sales tax will fund capital AND ongoing operating expenses. SPET funding will buy you a START bus, but will not pay for the gas, parts and drivers necessary to operate them. SPET funding will build you a house, but will not pay for the personnel to provide proper oversight and management and take advantage of unforeseen housing opportunities.

The community has been asking for real solutions to our housing shortage and traffic problems. We are ready to act, however, we will not be able to without money.

Please vote FOR the Teton County General Revenue Sales and Use Tax.

Do you support the 1% local option sales tax for housing and transportation? If not, how do you propose to fund the goals set out in the Integrated Transportation Plan?


Candidates for Mayor

sara-flitnerSara Flitner: 

I do. And while I understand we all hate taxes, we also live in a place with great services, safe roads, and good schools. I don’t take that for granted. This election will NOT raise our taxes, but it allows for the community to focus on priorities instead of bells and whistles. The Town has made it very easy for voters to get accountability, by establishing a special fund for the general revenue penny. This means the money is easily tracked and will only be deposited into transit and housing budgets. It will not be possible to spend it on other things without public approval.

pete-muldoonPete Muldoon: 

Absolutely – if we don’t pass that 1% local option tax we can forget about getting any of these things done.

 

 

 


Candidates for Town Council

jessica-chambersJessica Chambers:

Yes, absolutely. Having a steady stream of income that is built in makes a lot of sense – especially when we have budget cuts statewide and revenue is an issue. Visitors to our town pay the lion’s share of the sales tax – which does not include food – and we need revenue to mitigate the costs of their presence and to improve our housing and transportation situations. Additionally, we should charge people to park in town – and a novel idea suggested by a friend at the senior center is to have people get bike licenses/plates. There are many people who resent the pathways because they don’t use them and it’s only fair to ask bikers to contribute to maintaining the system. I’d be happy to get a bike license and/or plate, which would also solve the issue of ‘borrowed’ bikes!

judd-grossmanJudd Grossman:

I do not support the General Excise Tax increase. The parts of the ITP and the Workforce Housing Action plan that call for a steady stream of funding are flawed. Using public money to buy land at market prices and then trying to make it affordable for working people is doomed to fail. The proper way to expand the workforce housing stock is through density bonuses exclusively for deed restricted housing in the walkable urban commercial core. The transportation plan’s call for a blank check to fund START as a solution to our traffic problems is misleading. Right now START handles 1% of our traffic. According to the ITP in 20 years with full funding it will handle 3% of our traffic. START is an important piece of the puzzle, but not a game changer in our traffic problem. The claim that taxing and spending over $100,000,000 for START will solve the traffic issue is being used by development forces to “transit wash” inappropriate expansion of development.

The tax increase proponents are playing a shell game with SPET by letting it expire after the Budge Slide is paid for so that they can claim that the General Excise Tax increase is tax rate neutral. They are well aware that there is a backlog of SPET initiatives cued up in the tens of millions dollars, and SPET will come roaring back at the first opportunity raising our tax rate to 7% and making Jackson even less affordable for working people.

I support a Workforce Housing Overlay that will provide significant density bonuses exclusively for deed restricted housing in mixed use developments in the walkable urban commercial core. I support waiving the parking requirement for deed restricted housing in the Overlay. This will create significant demand for START and pathways.

Given the lack of proper vetting of the ITP and the Workforce Housing Action Plan by government and the media SPET is still the best way to fund community priorities with community input and oversight. I support using SPET to fund housing initiatives for public sector employees, such as the housing plan for the START bus barn. I also support using SPET to buy new buses for START.

haileyHailey Morton Levinson:

I support the 1% local option sales tax for our Community Priorities Fund.

 

 

 

jim-stanfordJim Stanford:

Yes, it’s critical to making any progress on housing and transportation. State funding cuts have hurt the town’s capital projects budget, making it harder to build sidewalks, pathways and other infrastructure, let alone pay for major investments in transit. Overall, it’s a more effective way of funding town and county government, as in contrast to the lodging tax, the community has complete control over how the money can be spent. With the lodging tax, state law mandates that more than half the money be spent on promotion, which makes our housing and transportation issues worse.

 


Candidates for County Commission

treyTrey Davis:

I would like to see SPET explored to contribute to a funding source for housing and transportation. SPET funds will be earmarked by the voters and utilized for the specific purpose. As of now, 3 votes of an elected body can change a general sales tax designation, as can a vote of 3 at a regular budget meeting. This makes me nervous with the potential of budget cuts from the state and/or any county emergency that could arise and require monies from the general fund.

gregGreg Epstein:

I absolutely support the Community Priority local option 1% sales tax. With state budget cuts continuing to come down the pipeline, Jackson Hole needs to take hold of its fiscal future by leveraging the roughly 4 million visitors who pay for nearly two-thirds of our local general revenue sales tax every year. In my opinion the only way to efficiently allow the government to focus on community priorities, make dynamic decisions and create solutions regarding transportation and housing is to have this steady revenue stream. If the 1% local option fails on November 8, our community stands to suffer a decreased quality of life by not having the proper funding for the health, safety and welfare services we have come to expect.

nikkiNikki Gill:

The current proposal lacks definition. We need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a more defined, concrete proposal that’s project specific before we implement a general tax increase. I want housing. I want traffic reduction. I support funding housing and transportation projects in our community through the use of SPET. That way the entire community gets a voice in which projects to support.

The role of government is to be honest, use common sense and safeguard the public’s trust. I think SPET is a good tool to ensure that happens. The money collected through SPET is legally bound to each specific project. In contrast, no future commission can be legally bound to spend general sales tax dollars on transportation and housing. In the end I support transparent, focused, and competitively bid projects.

nataliaNatalia Macker:

Yes, I am a supporter of the local option sales tax. It is a more effective tool (than SPET) for dedicated funding of our transportation goals, and our visitors pay a large portion of it.