Park path heralded as model for others
David Axelrad embraces Susan Thomas, wife of late Sen. Craig Thomas, at a path ceremony Sunday in Grand Teton National Park. Axelrad and wife Liza Bercovici, right, are parents of cyclist Gabriella Axelrad, who was killed 10 years ago by a motorist. TRAVIS J. GARNER / JACKSON HOLE DAILYView our entire photo gallery >>
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole, Wyo.
August 10, 2009
The father of a 13-year-old girl who was killed on the Teton Park Road by a motorist 10 years ago heralded completion of an eight-mile park pathway as a model.
In an emotional speech Sunday during which he recalled daughter Gabriella’s death, David Axelrad thanked the Jackson Hole community for completing the first part of a project that is planned to grow to 48 miles.
“My wife, Liza, resolved to return for a bicycle ride to remember Gabriella,” every year since her death, he said. Recognizing the late Sen. Craig Thomas, who secured $8 million for the project, and Sen. John Barrasso, who has earmarked another $3.6 million, he said he hoped the path would become a template for other national parks.
“It’s an absolutely gorgeous eight miles,” he said of the path that wends its way from Moose, up Windy Point hill and on to Jenny Lake. He recognized the National Parks Conservation Association and Brimmer Communications, which worked to get the path approved and funded, and Tim Young and Randy Roberts of Friends of Pathways, whom he called the voice and beating heart of the community.
Gretchen Long, trustee emeritus of the National Parks Conservation Association, said the path will promote cycling and walking over motoring and give visitors a chance to have a better park experience than if they were looking through a windshield.
Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott said the path should remind people to co-exist with wildlife.