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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Posted under Environment, Music, Politics

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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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Posted under Environment, Media

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King pushing zip line

By Jim Stanford on November 12, 2012

Comments: 9 Comments

Tourist on a zip line in Texas. Snow King says such amenities are necessary to make the ski area more profitable.

The Jackson Town Council will hold a special meeting at 8 a.m. Tuesday to discuss a possible zip line on Snow King.

The meeting was announced this afternoon. As of 5 p.m., no agenda or documents were posted on the town website. The purpose is to discuss “expanded mountain operations” on Snow King, states a town release.

Town Administrator Bob McLaurin said the meeting will pertain to Snow King’s lease with the town for land at the bottom of the mountain. The resort is seeking to build a zip line that lands on town property near the base of the Cougar chairlift. Snow King reportedly leases this land from the town for $1 a year.

McLaurin said his understanding is that the meeting will be the “beginning of the discussion” about the zip line, which has been a topic of concern among some residents and neighbors.

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Posted under Environment, Politics, Ski Resorts, Sports, Town Government

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video: town council forum

By Jim Stanford on October 19, 2012

Comments: 5 Comments

As promised, here is the video from Wednesday’s League of Women Voters forum for Jackson Town Council candidates. Many thanks again to Danny Holland and Sam Petri for volunteering to record and stream the event.

Owing to my lack of skill at video editing and desire to get this up quickly, I have posted the entire forum, introductions and all. Some of you might care to understand the format, which allotted candidates only 45 seconds to respond to questions after the first person answered. Plus, there are well deserved mentions of the organizers, a shout-out to Sandy Shuptrine (sidelined by surgery) and a few funny moments, if you know the characters.

For those looking to get to the issues quickly, skip to these segments:

10:12 — entertaining intro by Jake Nichols of JH Weekly
10:40 — first question, about proposed Walgreen’s on Broadway, whether candidates would support and/or approve it
16:40 — workforce housing/density
22:00 — wildlife crossings
27:33 — proposed purchase of Forest Service property on North Cache
33:15 — Jim Genzer’s lawsuit against the town over comprehensive plan
39:42 — transportation planning
45:00 — affordable housing (subject of today’s Daily story)
50:30 — role of government/ban on idling or plastic bags
55:45 — town budget
1:02:00 — which candidate would you vote for besides yourself
1:07:30 — closing statements

There are some stark differences among the candidates. Judge for yourselves.

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Posted under Economy, Environment, Politics, Town Government

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Wyo. Range, Hoback saved from drilling threat

By Jim Stanford on October 5, 2012

Comments: 6 Comments

Members of the Jackson Hole Kayak Club display their opposition to the drilling proposal for the Hoback headwaters last year. American Rivers included the Hoback on its list of America’s most endangered waterways.

Hunters, hikers, kayakers and anglers are about to celebrate, as a conservation group has reached a deal to buy the last remaining oil and gas leases in the Wyoming Range south of Jackson.

A source last night said the drilling company finally agreed to sell the leases, ensuring that the pristine mountain range and headwaters of the Hoback River will be spared fracking and other development. The Associated Press confirmed the deal this morning. A full press release appears after the jump.

The Trust for Public Land will purchase the leases from Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co. for $8.75 million, AP reported. The group still must raise half the money by the end of the year.

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Posted under Economy, Environment, Politics, Sports, Wyoming

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