Expand north instead
Enough money grubbing. Moving the fairgrounds for the sake of more “affordable” housing is just a ploy for developers to cash in on an already bloated financial market.
How about this? Annex land on the southern end of the Elk Refuge along Broadway Avenue. Put up some apartment buildings, not condos. I’m sure the elk wouldn’t mind. And the iconic fairgrounds would remain part of the history of Jackson and Teton County.
Ruskin, Florida, and Jackson
Close the road
People have misplaced priorities. Close the road. Heavy fines and jail time for feeding or otherwise interfering with Felicia and her cubs.
Welcome to another summer at the National Elk Refuge Road Go-kart Track. Side-by-side off-road vehicles are destroying the solitude of the Elk Refuge Road and the forest beyond. It’s only getting worse. Our peaceful neighborhoods and wild places continue to be sacrificed to feed the commercial machine.
With the current season upon us, two big issues, unrelated yet prominent, are upon us.
The parking issue on-street. There has been an explosion of vehicles recently. I’ve lived in my current place 8-plus years. Every year the same vehicles magically appear, many being trailers and boats, that easily can be seen to never be used. Allegedly the town says they must be moved every 72 hours, yet here by the middle school they don’t move, and there is zero enforcement. A construction trailer has sat here almost two weeks. There are motor homes here constantly, out of state, poaching overnight parking. For days on end.
Where I work, which happens to need parking as a vet clinic, tourists park for hours, taking up the parking that is essential. No enforcement.
Another area glaringly lacking in enforcement is dogs off leash on the pathways. Let me get this out of the way right now: I belong to a dog. Yes, that is my wording. We use the pathways, extensively and regularly. The pathways are busier than I have ever seen. The dogs off leash are not good. Running everywhere, one does not know if they are current on vaccines or friendly. Often no tags jangling. Where is the enforcement?
For both issues we have PD that could be more active. Is there not a parking enforcement division? I see patrol drive by people on the path with dogs off leash and do nothing. If they aren’t on an active call, a citation and not warning would soon stop the problem. Citing the vehicles parked without moving, or poaching overnight parking would help.
Path of the pronghorn
Their bellies swelling from a near full-term pregnancy, a herd of pronghorn grazes in the first light of dawn beneath the mighty Teton Range. They’re back. For thousands of years this herd has returned to the Jackson Hole Valley to rear fawns, traveling over 100 miles to get here each spring.
The “Path of the Pronghorn” is an ancient route that leads pronghorn to the protected landscapes of Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, and surrounding national forest. This vibrant summer range provides habitat for many other long distance migrants as well, including mule deer from the iconic 100-plus mile Red Desert to Hoback migration.
Our ability to experience and enjoy these iconic herds here in northwest Wyoming is inexorably tied to their winter habitat at the opposite end of their migration routes in the Rock Springs area. Unfortunately, management plans for critical habitat remain severely outdated, threatening their future. That’s why it’s important for the Rock Springs Bureau of Land Management to move swiftly in updating its Resource Management Plan, which has not been changed since 1997.
As a professional naturalist and avid sportsman, the wildlife and wild landscapes of this great state are core to both my job and my lifestyle. The BLM has put a decade of work in analysis and public involvement drafting updates to the RMP, now is a time to implement it. Updating the Rock Springs RMP will allow us to better preserve critical habitat and migration corridors while allowing for energy development projects critical to the Wyoming economy.
Let’s work together to keep the great state of Wyoming wild.
Thirty years ago this June I first stepped off a plane into laid back Jackson Hole and discovered the “Coach” a couple weeks later. “Is this place for locals only?” “No. Wyoming Law requires us to close before 10 on Sunday.”
Next week I was there before 6. As “Wabash Cannonball” began an old man in a dapper hat eyed a good-looking gal shooting pool as he shuffled past using a cane. Someone asked a vulgar question, and Tommy had a quick retort. Quite an introduction to quite a guy and place. Camaraderie with folks at the bar and the nearby band in the crowded lane of the original dance area was exhilarating.
While redeeming a ticket after a windy blizzard closed the ski area I noticed a familiar coat. Turned out the fellow skied regularly at Sugarloaf USA in Maine. I told him about “Church.” Early that night I saw him briefly open the door and leave. Finding nothing else open he returned later to eat and stood at the end of the bar by the band until closing. As he left he passed by me with tears in his eyes. “This place made my trip to Jackson Hole!”
One night during a break I bumped into Bill’s banjo. Never endured worse glares as band members on hands and knees gathered every scrap of splintered wood. Was told I should buy him a dinner. Learned a lot about this marvelous musician, skier and person. The banjo continued to lean precariously against the bar not far away from its protective metal cradle. Never did see Bill properly store his beloved instrument. Guess he felt the banjo must live as free and open as he did.
Locals and tourists evidently no longer eat or drink enough to support the band. Glad I experienced the incomparable Coach. Too bad others may not be so fortunate.
Bob “Doc” Luke
Cheerleading for Dems?
Liz Cheney, our sole Wyoming Representative, has really been making a big media splash in 2021. She was highlighted in the News&Guide’s May 19 editorial article entitled “Hats off to Cheney” and in Paul Hansen’s May 26 column “Supporting U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, democracy.” Here is what some keep wondering — is she demonstrating “true grit and standing for truth” as our editors and Mr. Hansen wrote or is she drowning in such visceral hatred for all things Trump that she is acting as a cheerleader for the Democratic propaganda machine?
Liz’s first news making move, after she was voted out of her No. 3 position of leadership by the Republican House caucus, was to join 34 fellow GOP House members to establish a Jan. 6 Commission. Dissenting Republican House Representatives and Senators saw this vote as yet another political move by Democrats to wipe out their opponents and punish them. Wasn’t this just another Kangaroo court similar to the two Trump impeachments? Wasn’t this a new distraction meant to avert our attention from Biden’s weak policies which have created havoc in the Middle East, on our Southern border, and at home with increased crime, anti-Semitism, anti-energy independence, and inflation?
Liz is just not seeing clearly. We already know the sad events of Jan. 6 weren’t an insurrection (no one was armed). It wasn’t an attempted coup (there was little premeditated activity). It wasn’t an act of domestic terrorism (no statues or paintings in the Capitol were torn down and desecrated, no act of arson was committed, no guns were drawn or brandished by the protestors). There was one lone victim of gunfire in the Capitol, Ashli Babbitt, a 10-year Air Force veteran, who was shot in the neck by an unidentified Capitol policeman. Liz can’t get beyond her goal to annihilate Trump even thought 70% of WY voters choose him last election.
Liz is again demonstrating shortsightedness. Every American was horrified by 1/6 but 440+/- arrests have been made. In fact, on June 8, two reports on 1/6 came out from the Homeland Security Committee and the Rules Committee. Both summations ultimately determined that there was a massive failure of security, planning, and response by both the United States Capitol Police and the Capitol Police Board. In addition, there were “critical breakdowns” in communication between three federal agencies responsible for handling such potential unrest: the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The reports ultimately confirm that the incident on Jan. 6 can be blamed on internal failures within the federal government and not on President Donald Trump as Liz has insisted.
Liz was removed from her leadership position because she wouldn’t do her job. When she was given the microphone on national TV, she didn’t promote her party or WY’s pressing needs especially any that would refill our state’s financial coffers. When given the microphone she screamed about the “Big Lie” insisting that investigating voter fraud was un-American. By choosing to sow discord, distraction, and division, Congresswoman Cheney weakened her teammates’ push to take back the House and Senate in 2022 and thereby arrest Biden’s anti-Wyoming agenda. Isn’t she reaffirming why she was censured by almost all of Wyoming’s 23 counties?
County residents who live north of town were stunned to find out that Teton County public works staff have been planning to add new development at the Cattleman’s Bridge recycling lot. The design includes relocating the recycling containers adjacent to busy Spring Gulch Road, greatly constricting the space available for cars driving into and out of the lot to recycle, screening the recycle containers with large scale planting of 200-plus cottonwood trees and other trees, irrigating the trees by pumping water from the Gros Ventre River, installing fencing to protect the new trees from wildlife in the area, adding formalized parking spaces for cars and bikes, and constructing a paved pathway from the intersection at King’s Highway to the bridge. The relocation of the recycle containers and adding so much vegetation will greatly reduce line of sight for vehicles driving into and out of the lot as well as for vehicles on busy Spring Gulch Road. The current Teton County School District bus turn around will also be relocated as the recycling containers will be moved into the bus turn around area.
This will be a very costly project to construct and costly to maintain. It will be equally costly to the Teton County Sheriff’s Department to patrol and respond to emergencies and any conflicts that may arise with new human activities.
The Cattleman’s Bridge parking lot is on a small piece of county land in a rural area. This parcel is located in a riparian area, in an important wildlife migration corridor, in the county’s Bear Conflict Priority Area 1, in critical moose habitat, in a migratory bird flyway and in the county’s Natural Resource Overlay. The last thing Teton County should do is add more development and attract more people into these environmentally sensitive lands on the banks of the Gros Ventre River.
Additionally, all of the surrounding lands are private. There is no contiguous public land.
The current utilitarian lot functions very well as a staging area for heavy equipment for recurring projects by the Corps of Engineers, WYDOT, Teton County, Lower Valley Energy, and equipment staging during county emergencies. People who work north of town use the lot for a casual break spot between jobs.
Inviting more people and new human uses to this location is at cross purposes with the protections that are endemic to the county’s Natural Resource Overlay zones as well as in Bear Conflict Priority 1 Areas.
From a financial standpoint, this is a huge outlay of county taxpayer monies that will become an annual recurring cost. Why is Teton County ready to spend public funds on such an unwise and unnecessary new development?
Sadly the Teton County Public Works staff did no meaningful public notice about these plans. There was no public open house or workshop, and no reach out to the residents north of town who use the recycle lot. Yet at a meeting with the Teton County Commissioners on June 14, the county staff stated construction could begin this fall but with no mention of the cost of the project.
Teton County citizens deserve to be informed of these kinds of projects at the start of the planning process, not after the staff have finished the designs and with no public input.
When government hides info, citizens are the losers.