By Jim Stanford on November 21, 2012
A chapter in Jackson Hole media history has come to a close, as David Gonzales announced yesterday he will cease publishing The Snaz.
The popular website was Jackson Hole’s first mountain culture blog, established in 2006. Originally dedicated to Jackson Hole videos, the site evolved into a platform for news, discussion, fine art photography and conservation.
Gonzales said he is retiring the site to focus on TreeFight, the effort he founded in 2010 to protect whitebark pine forests from climate change.
“I had to consolidate my efforts,” he said. “TreeFight is more important in every way.”
Although there were several experimental websites in the early 2000s — jhlocal among them — The Snaz was the first Jackson Hole blog to achieve a wide audience. At the height of its popularity, the site drew close to 2,000 readers per day, Gonzales said.
Gonzales has an extensive background in journalism. He was a syndicated travel writer and authored the coffee table book Jackson Hole: On a Grand Scale, a history of the resort.
The Snaz began in January 2006, eight months before the late skier Steve Romeo started Teton AT. Lauren Whaley was an early contributor. By December of that year, with much support from Gonzales, JH Underground launched. As I’ve written before, this site owes a debt of gratitude to The Snaz.
In recent years, Gonzales used his blog to highlight TreeFight’s conservation work. He changed the format from WordPress to a Tumblr feed. An archive of several years’ posts was lost, due to hacking. Even though he published sporadically, feeding two streams became a drag, eventually forcing his hand.
Looking back at his work, Gonzales said The Snaz “gave Jacksonites an eye onto the web.” He learned “how to be a visual publisher, how to be a filmmaker, how to take better photos.”
He will continue to use those skills to promote TreeFight, whose various feeds — Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter — will have a “Snazzy feel,” he said. Pepi, his faithful canine companion featured in many videos and photos, will continue to serve as mascot.
“TreeFight is a story, and that’s why I love it,” he said.
Gonzales noted a recent World Bank report on climate change and the fact that it has been too warm in late November for Snow King to blow snow. The ominous trend “makes me want to spend more of my time documenting what we have here, and also trying to get people to understand what we have to lose,” he said.
On a farewell post, he wrote that TreeFight won’t focus on scary headlines: “I think we can all agree, they’re not working. Instead, expect smart solutions, cool stuff, and awesome people.”