airport shuttle to begin Nov. 26

By Jim Stanford on November 21, 2013

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The long-awaited shuttle will cost $8 each way between the town parking garage and airport. Call to reserve space.

Residents flying in and out of Jackson Hole Airport for Thanksgiving will have a cheap, easy way of transportation.

A new shuttle between town and the airport will begin Nov. 26. The service, called Ride 2 Fly, will utilize the parking garage at the corner of Glenwood and Simpson streets. Cost is $8 each way or $16 round trip, tax included.

Travelers must reserve space by calling 307-733-3135. The shuttle will serve all departing and incoming flights.

The service is a collaboration between the town, county and airport board. It will be run by the current shuttle contractor, Alltrans.

Parking at the airport costs $10 per day, and spaces are limited, especially around the holidays. Last Christmas, the airport towed cars illegally parked.

Residents taking the shuttle may park for free in the town garage for up to 30 days. A portion of the third level has been reserved for shuttle riders, who can take an elevator to a heated pickup area at street level.

The shuttle will run through April 7. If ridership is strong, officials aim to extend the service year round.

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leaves accepted free for composting

By Jim Stanford on October 24, 2013

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Autumn leaves could help nurture gardens next spring. Grass, branches and shrubs also accepted.

While most trees have been bare for weeks, remarkably some cottonwoods and aspens in east Jackson are just now hitting peak color.

All that foliage on the ground leaves residents with a quandary: rake them out onto the street, where they eventually clog drains (definitely not advised); do nothing, and hope they blow into neighbors’ yards (probably not advised), or bag them to send them off to the landfill in Idaho Falls (expensive and wasteful).

Teton County Integrated Solid Waste is offering a new alternative this year: accepting yard waste for free at the trash transfer station, where it will be made into compost.

Residents may drop off trees, branches, shrubs, grass, leaves and weeds through Saturday. The station is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The offer does not apply to businesses.

Last spring, the recycling program offered free bags and collected yard waste, with the help of the town public works department, to be made into compost. It’s possible with more funding the service could be expanded next fall. With cleanup of the old landfill south of town and planning underway for an improved trash transfer and recycling center, the community has an opportunity to create a more comprehensive composting program.

While composting is not highly profitable, it’s cheaper than paying to ship grass and leaves to Idaho Falls. And for a valley known for its rocky, poor soil, the compost could help the growing local agriculture movement.

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‘effective’ population now 60,000

By Jim Stanford on August 30, 2013

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Crowd at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. During the peak of summer, Teton County draws 24,000 visitors per day. Total annual visitation is closer to 1 million people, rather than the 3 million often touted.

A few months ago, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk raised eyebrows when, at a joint meeting of town and county leaders, he said the park does not have 3 million visitors per year, as often touted. Rather, Wenk said, the park attracts more like 1.5 million people, some of whom visit multiple times.

A study released by the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance this month further calls into question the widely held notion that Teton County hosts 3 million — sometimes stretched to 4 million — visitors per year.

The study gives a snapshot of the county’s “effective population,” or the total number of people found here at a given time. The tally combines permanent residents, second home owners, seasonal workers, commuters and tourists.

At the peak of summer (July 15), that total is more than 60,000. In winter (Feb. 15), the effective population is 40,000, and even in the shoulder seasons (April and November) the tally is 30,000.

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here’s why refuge pathway is closed

By Jim Stanford on April 14, 2013

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North Highway 89 pathway near Gros Ventre River last fall.

To the chagrin of many cyclists, the Highway 89 pathway north of town along the National Elk Refuge is closed until April 30.

The closure is part of the deal Teton County arranged with the refuge to build the pathway in 2011. Despite a recent plea by cycling advocate Tim Young to open the path early, the refuge is sticking to the specified dates.

The path offers a velvety-smooth ride 10 miles to Moose and another 8 miles to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Only the portion along the refuge, between Jackson and Gros Ventre Junction, is closed from Oct. 1 to April 30 each year; the park sections presumably are rideable when free of snow.

Although it may seem aggravating and bureaucracy at its worst, there is a rationale behind the closure. To better explain it, county pathways coordinator Brian Schilling provided the following list of frequently asked questions. The bottom line: Be patient, people, and let the refuge finish studying impacts.

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plan future of BLM parcels on Snake

By Jim Stanford on November 8, 2012

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The stretch of the Snake between Wilson and South Park contains several BLM parcels prized for recreation. Click to enlarge.

Tonight Jackson-Teton County Parks and Recreation and the Snake River Fund will host an open house to help plan the future of BLM parcels along the Snake.

The open house is from 5 to 7 p.m. at the 4-H building, 255 W. Deloney Ave., adjacent to Miller Park. The county will present results of its user survey, along with maps and projected timelines for improving the Wilson and South Park access points. Representatives from WyDOT, Wyoming Game and Fish, Bridger-Teton National Forest and outfitters also will participate.

The decision over how to manage the Snake between Wilson and South Park is likely to be contentious. Already, John Wasson and other river advocates have called for limiting commercial use on the 13-mile stretch, while outfitters have drafted their own management plan.

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