Teton Pass: Teton Pass has long been a popular backcountry ski destination, but recently has begun to attract large numbers of both national and international visitors. A 2018-19 counter at the north and south trailheads of Teton Pass found that the total traffic entering and exiting the Teton Pass backcountry from November 21, 2018 to January 13, 2019 was 11,709 people, with the highest single day of use tallying 611 people on December 12. We estimate that skiers and boarders currently take about 150,000 runs on Teton Pass each winter season. Given the growing interest in backcountry skiing and riding, we anticipate that winter recreational use of Teton Pass will continue to increase in the future. Several key issues have emerged as a result of increased recreational use. These include:
- skier/boarder triggered avalanches off Mount Glory endangering commuters and other recreationists;
- parking congestion and road foot traffic,
- the management of dogs and dog poop
To help address these issues, TBCA initiated several actions:
- Teton Pass FLAP Grant: TBCA has cooperated in a multi-agency effort to submit a $5.2m grant to the Federal Lands Access Program for improvements to safety and access on Teton Pass. If funded the project will include:
- construction of an official USFS trailhead at the top of the Pass
- hitchhiking/chain-up pullout below Trail Creek Road
- pedestrian caution signs at the top of the Pass
- a pedestrian underpass at Coal Creek
- purchase of vans for a Teton Pass shuttle system
- support of a comprehensive Teton Pass Corridor Plan that will explore issues of carrying capacity and additional infrastructure projects to improve access and safety
- Public meetings: TBCA held public meetings in Wilson and Victor in the winter of 2018-19 to raise awareness of Teton Pass issues. The meetings were well attended and generated a lot of constructive discussion.
- On-line Survey: TBCA administered an on-line survey to document winter recreationists’ concerns and solutions to current issues on Teton Pass. The survey drew 1020 participants. For full details, click here.
- Teton Pass Volunteer Ambassador Program: TBCA launched a Teton Pass Volunteer Ambassador program to complement the work of our current ambassador, Jay Pistono. Volunteer Ambassadors will greet visitors, help share information, and help to manage the parking at the top of the pass.
- Teton Pass film: TBCA is working with Stio to produce a film about the Teton Pass Ambassador Jay Pistono and responsible recreational use of the Teton Pass.
- Free Shuttles / Pass Bash events: As an experiment to test the interest and need for a Teton Pass shuttle service, TBCA organized “Winter Pass Bashes” that provided free shuttle transportation up the Pass from Wilson.
- AED Defibrillator: TBCA installed a small hut containing an AED defibrillator on Teton Pass for use in the case of an accident.
- Working with Agencies: TBCA meets regularly with management agencies, such as WYDOT and BTNF, to help with signage and to ensure users’ concerns and needs are addressed agency decision making.
- Flyers, Social Media, and website: TBCA worked with the Bridger-Teton National Forest to create several flyers, social posts, and web material to educate Teton Pass skiers and snowboarders about responsible and safe recreation on Teton Pass.