Path of Resistance

Keep Moose-Wilson pastoralPerhaps it’s simply a sign of the times we live in when a 700-page document is still not enough to appease some. When Friends of Pathways (FOP) and Teton Village Association (TVA) didn’t have things go their way at the secret meeting with Park Service officials over the Moose-Wilson Road, they lawyered up.

FOP and TVA say they are just “helping” the Park Service by providing their own 22-page analysis courtesy of hired guns Holland & Hart. Truth be told, it looks more like a threat of litigation.

The general public is overwhelmingly on board with the NPS preferred Alternative C that does not include a bicycle pathway through the Moose-Wilson corridor. Elected leaders from the town and county, despite pressure from FOP and TVA, are also in accord.

The Park Service has done its due diligence. The National Environmental Policy Act process has been thorough and exhaustive.

Outdoor author Becky Woods said it perfectly at a recent public meeting.

“Luckily, you [electeds] have the foresight to realize the park is to be managed in perpetuity for future generations that include all Americans and not regional and local interests solely,” Woods said.

To be clear: We are not against bikers or biking. But a dedicated biking lane in Moose-Wilson is selfish, dangerous, and contrary to the pristine nature of a habitat-rich corridor that deserves upmost protection by the Park Service. We are not opposed to Teton Village leaders making a buck. But Moose-Wilson Road is not their driveway. It belongs to ALL people.

Moose-Wilson Road

The National Park Service is currently analyzing feedback from more than 3,000 respondents including Save Historic Jackson Hole. Their Preferred Alternative C includes a 200-vehicle limit at any given time for the 8-mile corridor, no inclusion of a bike path, and a reduced speed limit to 20 mph for much of the from Teton Village to Moose.

The Teton Village Association (TVA) has aggressively challenged the Park Service decision and process. They have hired attorneys and may sue to protect their business and commercial interests alive.

SHJH is keeping a close eye on developments.

Stay involved.

Razing Walgreens

no walgreensWE WERE THERE…  At the Town Council Workshop, the first order of business today provided a Save Historic Jackson Hole highlight moment.

During discussion on how exactly to remove the Walgreens building on Broadway and who would pay for replacing it with an earthen material buttress against the base of the butte.

The future repeats itself

We’ve been talking about out-of-control growth since at least the 1970s. Likely, long before that.

We came across two very interesting articles for those with the leisure time to read. Yeah, we know… “Leisure time?” “Read?”

But these are worth a skim.NatGeo 1976

Todd Wilkinson’s January 13, 2016 column in the News&Guide referenced a decades-old National Geographic article written by Francois Leydet in 1976. It was titled, “Jackson Hole: Good-bye to the Old Days?”

Homer Richards and Slim Lawrence, 1958
Homer Richards and Slim Lawrence, 1958

In it, old-time resident W.C. “Slim” Lawrence shared this concern. “I hate to see Jackson get so big, but I don’t see how we can stop it,” he told Leydet for the article. “All we can do is keep it as West as we can for as long as we can.”

Words to live by.

Also in the article was a quote from then town administrator Duane Wroe. Incidentally, he was father to Amy Wroe Bechtel who disappeared in 1997 when she went out for a run in Lander.

Wroe said, “I thought for years that growth was good. Now I’m convinced it can be a bummer.”

More words to live by.

And finally, Laney Hicks, who was a regional rep for Sierra Club back in the 1970s posed this 40 years ago: “The big question is this, is Jackson Hole going to be just another commercial resort or is it going to keep some of the genuine local color?”

What has become of our quaint mountain town? Has it lost its soul? How did this happen?

These questions are explored in a wonderfully informative paper by Clinton R. Pumphrey called, “From Sagebrush to Subdivisions: Visualizing Tourist Development in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 1967-2002.”

Jackson Hole K-MartA juicy quote from that research paper reads: “When K-Mart built a store in Jackson in the 1990s, citizen groups insisted that they design the store’s exterior in a way that better fit Jackson’s Old West feel. The rustic wooden siding installed on the store provided biting symbolism for what Jackson had become: a corporatized tourist town with an Old West façade.”

Ouch!

Are we still the “Last and Best of the Old West?” Or have we become what the News&Guide proposed our new slogan should be back in 2008? – “Jackson Hole, where California plays and Mexico works.”

We’re watching

Bull elk grouped on a piece of property slated for more than 200 homes.
Bull elk grouped on a piece of property slated for more than 200 homes.

A proposed development in South Park would put 206 homes on 203 acres on Nielson Ranch/Lucas property there. The arrangement would also put 22 homes in on Spring Gulch with the promise to preserve open space there.

While the project is not without merit, Save Historic Jackson Hole has concerns about the pre-application for this proposal which will be developed by Steelhead Partners LLC (David Quinn). Deliberate attempts have been made to “fast-track” this application in order to get in order the wire. New LDRs, set to take effect in April, would prohibit such a development but with a 3-year moratorium currently lapsed, this looks like a proposal seeking to capitalize on a grey area of time.

We have urged county planners and commissioners to take a close look at this application, and to make sure every “I” is dotted and every “T” crossed.

In order to get the project approved by April, applicants have asked the required Environmental Analysis be waived. That is unacceptable. Some of the area in play at Spring Gulch is in the NRO (Natural Resource Overlay) and the South Park Loop parcels are part of the county’s Rural Preservation subarea and in prime riparian habitat.

There are too many red flags here. Any development proposal this large and impactful  should be carefully vetted. Pushing it through the process in a hasty manner to beat a deadline is worrisome at best.

Stay tuned…

We will watch this one as careful stewards of the Last and Best of the Old West.

People Win!

Here is our ad running in the Jackson Hole News&Guide and Daily.

Our elected leaders deserve congratulations and YOU, who stuck with the process regarding NO ADDITIONAL COMMERCIAL development, are to be commended as well. Together, we made a stand. For the Last and Best of the Old West. For community before resort.

SHJH 1-20-15

START ridership down in 2015

Is START Bus the answer? Ridership down.
START bus saw a 5 percent drop in ridership in 2015, largely due to a fall in the number of people taking the bus to and from Teton Village, according to a report released this week.
http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/…/article_c5271e89-db38-5bad-…

START bus saw a 5 percent drop in ridership in 2015, largely due to a fall in the number of people taking the bus to and from Teton Village, according to a report…
JHNEWSANDGUIDE.COM

No additional commercial

WE WERE THERE…
Town and county leaders later voted today to stand pat with existing commercial development caps as established in the 1994 Comp Plan – a latent 5.1 million square feet – despite a last minute impassioned plea from former mayor Mark Barron who said not only were electeds ignoring a “town as heart” motif adopted in both the 94 plan and the current 2012 plan but were effectively “strangling” and “killing” town while vilifying business owners and commercial developers.