Teton Park Road open to non-motorized traffic

Zach Nelson enjoys an open stretch of road Wednesday afternoon in Grand Teton National Park. The 14-mile stretch of Teton Park Road between the Taggart Lake Trailhead and Signal Mountain Lodge will remain open to nonmotorized traffic until May 1.

Teton County residents live in the healthiest rural community in the country, according to a U.S. News and World Report ranking.

The rankings, done in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, compare communities with others across the nation of similar geographic status and economic strength.

“It’s always helpful to be able to look at like communities,” Teton County Health Department Director Jodie Pond said.

It’s the second year in a row Teton County was named the healthiest among its rural counterparts.

“People who live in rural communities are more likely to own their homes and live in the state where they were born than those in urban areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” a summary reads. “And while access to care and transportation barriers can pose challenges, residents of rural communities with high-performing economies typically live in healthier natural environments and fare better in terms of housing than their urban counterparts.”

Categories included in the ranking are population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality, and infrastructure. Out of those categories, Teton County scored the lowest in equity and housing.

“Social determinants of health is where we don’t do as well,” Pond said.

Teton is followed by Chaffee County, Colorado; Morgan County, Utah; Routt County, Colorado; and Jefferson County, Montana. The “rural” classification means the places are not metropolitan or micropolitan — areas with substantial central populations and integrated adjacent communities — or are home to fewer than 20 people per square mile.

Compared with all counties nationwide, not just rural, Teton County comes in sixth. That’s an improvement from ninth place in 2016. Pond said the jump is in part attributed to improvements in food insecurity and uninsured rates tracked in the health department’s Healthy Teton County initiative.

“Those are two areas where we’re improving,” she said.

Years ago, she said, 23% of the population was uninsured. That has decreased to 15% in recent years.

Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079 or health@jhnewsandguide.com.

Kylie Mohr covers the education and health beats. Mohr grew up in Washington and came to Wyoming via Georgetown. She loves seeing the starry night sky again.

Recommended for you

(2) comments

Chad guenter

Of course it's going to be "healthy" most bicycles you see around town cost more than the average family car in other "rural" counties.

Maybe next year, they could start a new category. Affluent, Resort communities and see how Teton fares against the likes of Aspen, Park City, Vail, etc.

And the title of "Healthiest Elite Community" goes to.....

Schools Reporter Staff
Tom Hallberg

Hi Chad! Good point -- Teton County is very dissimilar from a lot of other counties that fall under the rural distinction. That said, Aspen and Park City are included in the rural ranking as well and are compared to Teton County. It's easy to find the answer to your question about how we compare to similar communities. Aspen (Pitkin County) is 7th and Park City (Summit County) is 13th. Vail (Eagle County) is considered urban in this study. You can find more here. https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/rankings

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.