Friends of Pathways has a formal partnership with the USFS to collaborate on design, construction and stewardship of local trails for all users – hike, bike, horse, and ski. We’re committed to providing easy year round access to trails that is essential to maintaining our high quality of life in Jackson Hole.

Congratulations to Grand Teton National Park and Teton County on their agreement to develop a program which will provide regular grooming of the Teton Park Rd each week for the rest of this winter!  Through the efforts of a community-based group of nordic skiing advocates – the Jackson Hole Nordic Alliance, along with the crucial support of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation – Teton County Parks & Rec will supplement the grooming efforts of Grand Teton NP through this formal partnership.

Each weekend beginning this Sunday February 2nd, the Teton Park Rd will be groomed (generally on Saturdays, weather and conditions dependent) from the Taggart Lake trailhead parking lot to Signal Mountain. You can read the press release from GTNP here, and find more detailed information about the agreement and program. From the press release:

“We look forward to working with Teton County on this new partnership initiative, and we hope that the pilot program will provide a measure of certainty for Nordic and skate skiers who regularly use the Teton Park Road for recreation and inspiration,” said Acting Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “Through our cooperative efforts, we are providing an opportunity for park visitors to enjoy healthy activities, such as skiing and snowshoeing, while surrounded by the unparalleled beauty and serenity of a Teton winter.”

Head up to GTNP this Sunday, and remember to congratulate and thank the folks from GTNPTeton County electeds and staff,GTNP Foundation, and the JH Nordic Alliance for coming together to create this great benefit for residents and visitors of Grand Teton and Jackson Hole!

Ride sharing is a popular way to begin or end a day skiing on Teton Pass. Pass Ambassador, Jay Pistono, offers some tips for safe and efficient ride sharing.  In the spirit of community driven solutions, it is up to all of us to travel and recreate with respect, responsibility, and thoughtfulness toward each other and the environment.  The goal of the partners in this program is to provide these guidelines to ensure enjoyable and safe experiences on Teton Pass.

Ride Sharing Incorrectly                  Ride Sharing Correctly

1. Ask for a ride in small groups of 3 or less. If you are part of a larger group, split up.

2. If you’re standing on the highway, stay on the berm, instead of the roadbed, for your own safety.  Don’t walk up the road with your thumb out, either walk up or wait to hitch.

3. Avoid ride sharing with dogs.  If you ski with your dog, devise a plan where you won’t need to ask for a ride with your dog.

4. Be completely ready to get into a waiting vehicle.

5. Remind the driver to get over as far as they can.  You, as the hitchhiker won’t get the ticket, the driver will.

6. Think about where you stage the ride sharing.  Think about visibility. As drivers may not see you, try to avoid being on the road.  If there is bad visibility, it’s unsafe for everyone.

7. Follow Capt’n Bob’s example: Offer the driver $2 for your ride to the top.

8. Please respect private property when waiting in front of Trail Creek or the Heidelberg.

9.  If someone gives you a ride to the top, they get first priority for your parking spot.

10. Listen to Highway Patrol and be polite.  They are trying to make the pass safe for everyone.

Keep the Peace,
JP

The Pass Ambassador is a community-driven program with partner support from Friends of Pathways, the Bridger-Teton National ForestTeton County Search and Rescue Foundation, the Wyoming Department of Transportation, and others.  The AmPassador Program is also supported by Outdoor Research.

JHNordic.com is a web based online tool designed to expand Nordic skiers horizons to discover the world-class cross-country and skate skiing in Jackson Hole and Teton Valley. There are over 500 miles of Nordic skiing, ranging from groomed state and classic tracked trails to untacked ski trails. The website provides an opportunity to discover the extensive range of Nordic, cross country (XC) and skate skiing trails in Jackson Hole, Teton Valley and the Greater Tetons. There are functions to help you search, find, and access maps and descriptions for nordic ski trails in the Jackson Hole Area. Visit JHNoridic.com today or read more about it at Friends of Pathways.

There is no next best place to Teton Pass, but it can get busy on a powder day.  This week, we caught up with Jay Pistono to give you tips for success from the moment you leave your door, until you park your car.

1. Before leaving your house, check the Avalanche Report and the Teton Pass Web Cam.  Know the conditions of the snow pack and make sure you’re prepared if it will be busy to park. If conditions are unsafe or if the parking lot is too full, consider alternate plans.  There is parking at Phillips or Cole Creek Trailhead.

2. Avoid congestion in the parking lot by:
Carpooling whenever possible
Parking at the bottom and ride sharing to the top
Parking tight (45 cars fit with a large space between them, 60 cars have fit on the best day.)

3. If you arrive and the lot is full, line up behind any waiting cars. Remember to keep the waiting line out of the way of the flow of traffic and try to keep room for commuters to stop to clear their wipers, adjust their chains, ect. Turn on your flashers on and communicate with the other drivers.

4.  When you’ve parked your car, prep for your day behind your car, so others can get in and out of the parking lot easily.  Keep your dog under control and maker sure you have the proper saftey gear for a backcountry trip.

If you plan to Ride Share, we thank you, enjoy our Tips for Ride Share success.

The Pass Ambassador is a community-driven program with partner support from Friends of Pathways, the Bridger Teton National ForestTeton County Search and Rescue Foundation, the Wyoming Department of Transportation, and others. The AmPassador program is also supported directly by Outdoor Research

This weekend, the trails were looking quite muddy. Below is a friendly reminder from the FOP/USFS trail crew: Riding in mud can wreck the tread on the trail by leaving ruts that dry into hard bumps. This in turn contributes to erosion and further damage, while creating unridable and hard to fix trail surfaces. If you are leaving a visible rut, the trail is too muddy to ride! Varying weather conditions during the spring and fall can be especially critical for trails. You can still get out and ride and walk the trails, but please be aware of wet trail and very muddy spots. If you see that it is too wet, dismount your bike, push your bike through the mud, and walk on the edge of the trail. Please don’t ride around the mud spots either, this creates an unsustainably wide trail and can even create two trails in one spot.

Path22 West Segment – Snake River Bridge
Crews have completed all underground work on the central in-river pier, the first of the three in-river piers to be completed, and have now started work on the east pier. The exposed end of the 3’x5’ concrete base and embedded rebar of the central pier are now visible above the river bed, and the finish work to complete the hammerhead “cap” that supports the steel bridge girders will follow shortly.
As of last week, work on the east in-river pier had started and crews are currently in the process of driving sheet piles to build the coffer dam for the east pier. The coffer dam will extend approximately 30’ below the river bed and will allow crews to construct the below-ground components of the pier, a process that is expected to take several months. As soon as the sheet pile driving is complete crews will move on to excavating the interior of the coffer dam, driving H-piles, pouring the concrete seal cap, dewatering the coffer dam, and then begin the forming and pouring of the concrete pier itself. This process must be repeated for the west pier as well. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Path22 West Segment – WY390 Underpass
The contractor has received final approval from WYDOT and work is expected to start next week (September 30th) on the underpass near the WY390/WY22 intersection. The project will install an 80’-long concrete culvert underneath WY390 approximately 450’ north of the WY390/WY22 intersection, connecting the existing pathways at Stilson Ranch to the future pathway that will extend through the new Rendezvous Park, across the Snake River, and east along WY22 connecting to the pathway system in the Town of Jackson.

Path22 East Segment – West Broadway
Work is ongoing on the East Segment – Phase I portion of the Pathway 22 Project, which will construct 1.1 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities on West Broadway (US89) between the Flat Creek Bridge and the “Y” intersection of WY22/US89, and on WY22 between the “Y” and Spring Gulch Road. The facilities generally include a 6-foot wide protected bike lane (“cycle track”) separated by 2-4 feet from an 8-foot wide pedestrian sidewalk on both sides of West Broadway, and a 10-foot wide pathway along the west side of WY22. The 6-foot cycle track will also continue on the east side of WY22 from the “Y” intersection up to Spring Gulch Road.
Crews are focusing this fall on the area near the new Walgreens at Budge Dr. and along the undeveloped hillside just west of the Flat Creek Bridge. Most of the prep work and major grading will be completed this fall, with actual pathway installation occurring in spring 2014. The project plans are available on the Teton County website at: http://www.tetonwyo.org/pathwy/topics/wy22-east-segment/252075/

During the month of September, the trail crew has been hard at work replacing bridges and restoring trail in the Game Creek Drainage.  Many of the bridges in this area were showing signs of their age by rotting and flexing. Additionally, some of the portions of Middle Game Creek Trail were aligned too close to the creek, resulting in washout and flooding in the early spring.

Last year, Friends of Pathways was awarded a grant for this project from the Recreational Trails Program through theWyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources. This summer, the trail crew set to work pre-cutting lumber and transporting tools and lumber to the site.  Once the boards were in Game Creek, the real fun could begin.  Each board, weighing over 20 lbs, was transported from the top of the Game Creek Road to the bridge site.  The crew had two fantastic volunteer groups to help with the project: Jackson Hole Community School students and the BTNF Fire Crew.  The amount of lumber they transported for each of the bridges was impressive!

During the second week, the crew had the help of mini-x to move fill dirt for turnpikes and to carve a new trail out of the hill adjacent to the road.  The higher placement of this new trail, will help to keep it dry and erosion free.

Recently, Friends of Pathways received a few questions about how to share the trail with horses.  We thought it was a great opportunity to get a little perspective from the Back Country Horsemen on horse behavior and sharing the trails.  Thanks to the BCH for giving us a glimpse into the horse’s mind.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE HORSE KIND
By: Teton Back Country Horsemen

Horses are prey animals, and flight is their primary defense.  Horses have had the right-of-way on trails because the horse has its own unpredictable reaction to every trail encounter.  If the horse is not startled, the rider can maintain control and quickly move from blocking the trail.

What startles a horse is not always obvious.  It might be approaching from the front quickly, or an oversized backpack or an odd fishing pole, or approaching quietly from the rear, or unfamiliar trail obstacles, or thrown gravel, or a strange bike.  On rare occasions, a particular horse may not pass a rider/bike combo unless the bike is laid on its side.

For the safety of everyone, when encountering a horse on the trail:
1. Make sure the horse has seen you from a distance and knows that you are human.
 Slow down and prepare to stop.  Give the rider a chance to quiet the horse.  Call out in a friendly voice.  Usually the rider will want to start a conversation with you for the horse’s benefit.  Watch for the horse’s reaction. Keep the ‘small talk’ going as you approach and pass.

2. Look for guidance from the horse rider before passing. Horses need the upper side of the hill, and they will go there if startled.  It is usually easier for the horse to leave the trail to bypass a biker.

3. Bring accompanying dogs under control. Even a friendly dog might appear threatening.  Horses can and will kick dogs nipping at their heels.

4. Use extra caution on blind curves on the shared trails.

In addition, all users should use common sense and share-the-trail courtesy.  If any user has the easier opportunity to accommodate the others, they should do it!