Don’t be misled
Yes, COVID infections among the vaccinated are rising, but these are generally not fatal and remain mild. In fact, as you do report in the “Cases up among vaxxed” cover story on the Aug. 31 Jackson Hole Daily, the rate of hospitalization is much higher in the unvaccinated, especially if they have co-morbidities such as obesity and diabetes or are over age 60. While your story reports this, the headline is quite misleading. A recent report from Israel notes that those that had COVID and received at least one vaccine had much better protection than those who are unvaccinated.
It’s not a noose
The persons most important in my life presently are my car mechanic and front-line hospital workers. Though sometimes my mechanic overcharges, the car lives and nobody had to be vaccinated or wear a mask. During the last six months I’ve spent a quite a bit of time in hospitals, and the front-liners and hospital staff attending me were kind, compassionate and burnt out, making it difficult for them to give 100%.
If vaccination is out of the question for whatever reason, let’s at least wear a mask, show respect and humanity to the people we will encounter. If you’re wrong about the COVID reality, it’s just a mask, not a noose!
Huge scar on hill
The huge new clearcut in what was once pristine forest coming down from the peak of Snow King Mountain is probably the largest environmental scar I’ve seen created in our town. The selective concern we have for the environment in this community is stunning. Damage caused by ski areas and subdivisions is similar to that of drilling, mining and logging, but more permanent. Our environmentalism is performative and hypocritical. We wring our hands over idling cars, light bulbs and recycling; meanwhile the industrialization of our wild lands, and paving over of our open spaces is encouraged if it advances our selfish desires.
With all the thrilling beauty Jackson Hole has provided us you would think we would be motivated to be better stewards of this magic valley.
It pains us to write this because we appreciate and respect what you do at the paper. But we believe your editorial on Aug. 25 about dog parks fails to consider or acknowledge several important issues, specifically at Powderhorn Park.
Among the dog parks proposed, Powderhorn is the only one that directly abuts private residences, with the entrance to the dog park literally in our driveway. As such, a dog park will be incredibly disruptive and will in fact displace historic use by Clusters’ homeowners that has been negotiated and permitted in good faith with the town.
You write: “Having five (or more) off-leash areas would accommodate thousands of dogs who need a safe place to do their duty, socialize with fellow canines and get their energy out without putting wildlife at risk.”
Respectfully, the burden of creating space for dogs to poop and socialize should not be placed on working-class families struggling to make ends meet in the most expensive U.S. zip code.
You state these dog parks will reduce traffic congestion. But in fact, a dog park on Google Maps for this area would serve as the de facto dog attractant for thousands of visitors who find themselves passing through Albertsons, REI, Target and McDonald’s. Why would anyone drive to other off-leash areas when they can just pop over to Powderhorn after shopping for a new Chuckit at Target?
We invite you to take a stroll around Powderhorn Park. It’s a special place, for sure, and we are very grateful to live near it, owning a Clusters unit since 2005. But every day throughout the summer, you will find numerous street campers, RVs, and commercial vehicles parked along the perimeter, and too much litter. Parks and Rec has failed to show they can manage these nefarious uses. As neighbors, we look the other way because of the housing crisis. But to bring another use such as a dog park into a small, highly utilized space would only generate conflict, parking issues and traffic congestion. You will also find youth groups — Coombs Outdoors and the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club — using this space regularly, which we love to see. But community uses such as this could be displaced by a dog park.
Your editorial also implies that anyone against a dog park is an irrational NIMBY. In fact, this plan has been backdoored — for the second time in five years — by Parks and Rec and PAWS as a way to sneak it through. We find it incredibly disrespectful that no one from either organization has ever extended a hand to Clusters’ homeowners to find some kind of agreeable solution. If we were going to put a dog park mere feet from people’s homes we would personally go knock on some doors to invite them into the process. That would be the neighborly thing to do. Instead we’re being forced to fight off a plan, yet again, that has been created behind our backs that we see as a detriment to our peaceful neighborhood. Our concerns about a dog park are very real and should be treated with respect.
Powderhorn Park and the ball field wouldn’t exist without the Clusters’ homeowners, an agreement that goes back almost 50 years. It would be unfair and irresponsible for Parks and Rec and the town to take part of this land and give it to a special interest group. It makes no sense to add another use, particularly one that will most certainly invite more tourist traffic, congestion, litter, dog poop, overflowing dog poop receptacles, and user conflicts to this small, beautiful park. There are plenty of other places nearby where dog owners (like ourselves) can take their dogs.
Andrea Phizackerley and Matt Hansen