town seeks input on lodging

By Jim Stanford on April 4, 2013

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Nearly 20 years ago, the community drew a boundary around town where lodging — hotels, B&Bs, short-term rentals — would be permitted. The goal was to concentrate tourists around the Square and in areas where services and amenities are easily available.

Now, in an era of VRBO and AirBnb, those boundaries have been muddied. Also, developers are pitching new hotels on North Cache and the old Sagebrush Motel site on Flat Creek, west of Staples.

The Town of Jackson is seeking input from citizens on where lodging should be allowed. Planners are taking a fresh look at the boundary, called the lodging overlay, as they begin to write regulations for the new Comprehensive Plan.

It’s a key decision because lodging generally is seen as the most profitable use of land, meaning property owners could stand to gain or lose value. Also, the community wants to preserve the quiet character of residential neighborhoods.

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film screening benefits American Rivers

By Jim Stanford on March 26, 2013

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From its beginnings as a trickle of snowmelt off Two Ocean Pass to the thunderous cataracts of its Grand Canyon and sinuous meandering through the plains of Montana, the Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states.

A new film by Hunter Weeks follows a 30-day journey by drift boat down the river to its confluence with the Missouri at Fort Buford, N.D. Where the Yellowstone Goes chronicles the people and landscapes the party encounters while floating and fishing this majestic waterway.

Weeks will show the film and take questions Wednesday night in a benefit for American Rivers at the Pink Garter Theater. Tickets are $10, available online or at Jack Dennis Sports and Teton Mountain Lodge. Showtime is 7 p.m.

I’ve always thought of the Yellowstone as one of the uppermost headwaters of the Mississippi. Along those lines, I’d someday like to make a journey from Atlantic Creek all the way to New Orleans.

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Trust seals Hoback deal

By Jim Stanford on January 2, 2013

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The deal ensures that the Hoback headwaters will be saved.

The Trust for Public Land announced today it has raised the $8.75 million needed to buy drilling leases and protect 58,000 acres of the Wyoming Range south of Jackson from oil and gas development.

The deal ensures that fracking will not occur in some of the headwaters of the Hoback River, and up to 136 wells will not be drilled in a pristine area prized for hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.

The trust had been racing a Dec. 31 deadline to raise the necessary funding, which will be paid to Plains Exploration and Production of Houston, the company that owned the drilling rights.

“I can’t think of a better way to start off the New Year. This solution honors the wishes of the people of Wyoming and protects a vital corner of Greater Yellowstone for generations to come,” said Will Rogers, TPL president and CEO.

The largest donation came from Hansjörg Wyss, a Wilson homeowner who contributed $4.25 million through his charitable foundation. Joe Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder and part owner of the Chicago Cubs who owns a home near Bondurant, gave $1.75 million, including an eleventh-hour gift of $750,000 that pushed the campaign across the finish line, the trust said in a release.

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time short as Wyo. Range buyout nears goal

By Jim Stanford on December 13, 2012

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The Deadlocks will play a benefit concert Dec. 21 at CFA, helping music fans do their part to protect the lands right outside our lazy summer home.

With little more than two weeks left to complete a deal, the Trust for Public Land has raised $7.6 million of the $8.75 million it needs to retire drilling leases and protect the Wyoming Range south of Jackson from oil and gas development.

The trust must raise the remaining $1.15 million by the end of the year. In the last week, donors have given $1.7 million, including $200,000 from the Pinedale Anticline Mitigation Fund.

All those small donations must be making an impact. In the last two months, advocates have made the case on social media that even a $150 contribution will protect an acre of land.

To help reach the goal, The Deadlocks and Jalan Crossland will perform a benefit concert Dec. 21 at Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20 or $100 for VIP with food and cocktails. The Jackson-based website Clean Snipe is helping put on the show, along with a host of other local businesses.

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in memoriam: The Snaz

By Jim Stanford on November 21, 2012

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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.

Original logo.

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.

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