LaHood lauds Grand Teton park paths
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
August 10, 2012
Politicians and officials gathered Thursday in Grand Teton National Park to celebrate the completion of the Jackson-to-Jenny Lake bike path network.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood put a family vacation to the park on hold so that he could address a crowd of rangers, local government officials and pathway enthusiasts.
“What we’re celebrating here is what all of you have done for the next generation,” LaHood said. “I don’t know of another place I’d rather be in America than right here, celebrating with you. You should be mighty proud.”
The celebration was held in the shadow of the Tetons at park headquarters in Moose. Other speakers were Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, Jackson Mayor Mark Barron and Teton County commissioners Hank Phibbs and Paul Vogelheim.
All of the speakers lauded the pathway link as a valuable addition to the Grand Teton visitor experience.
“Pathways sound like a narrow strip of pavement running through a rural landscape, but it’s so much more than that,” Barron said. “It’s an enhancement for the visitation of our greatest national park, Grand Teton. It extends that national park experience back down into the Jackson community.”
In June, the final stage of the pathway project opened to cyclists and pedestrians with the completion of the North Highway 89 Jackson-to-Moose pathway. From conception to completion, it was a 30-year project. Before the final leg was completed, a pathway from Moose to Jenny Lake was already in place, as was the portion of the pathway between Jackson and the park’s southern boundary.
The 20-mile long pathway brought the total number of pathway miles in Teton County and Grand Teton to 55.8, an increase of over one-third, said Brian Schilling, Teton County and Town of Jackson Pathways coordinator. The portion outside the park alone cost $4.7 million to complete, Schilling said.
A group of rangers and other people who attended Thursday’s dedication mounted bikes after LaHood’s speech and rode the new stretch of pathway.
Friends of Pathways is inviting the public to do the same at the week’s second pathway celebration today. See today’s Entertainment page for more details on that event.