Update 8:40 p.m.: WyDOT is waiting for slide to stabilize naturally, then will work 24 hours a day to clear debris. More details after the jump.
(This time-lapse video captures 30 minutes of movement by the slide.)
As a mudslide closes the Snake River Canyon for a fourth day, business owners and local officials are appealing to Gov. Matt Mead to declare a state of emergency and perhaps call in the Wyoming National Guard to clear debris.
Whitewater outfitters are shut down, unable to reach boat ramps in the canyon even if willing to route clients on a lengthy return journey through Idaho. Although the weather isn’t yet conducive to running many trips, outfitters are worried the slide could drag on for weeks and cut into the busy season.
“With the summer season approaching us fast, this slide has the potential to have a massive economic impact on this community and we are going to need all available state resources once a plan of action is determined by WyDOT,” Bud Chatham, owner of Dave Hansen Whitewater, wrote in a letter to the Jackson Town Council. Chatham has urged the town and county to call on the governor to marshal more resources.
Renny MacKay, spokesman for Gov. Mead, said any requests for emergency assistance must come from the local level, starting with Teton and Lincoln county commissioners and the Wyoming Department of Transportation, which has been working to clear the slide. The governor, who was raised in Teton County, is closely monitoring the situation and is aware that other roadways into Jackson Hole could be threatened by additional slides, MacKay said.