Thank you for considering a donation to Teton Backcountry Alliance. All donations are received through our fiscal sponsor Teewinot Institute, which is registered with the State of Wyoming as a 501c3 organization. By donating to TBCA, you are joining other backcountry recreationists in taking responsibility for creating a safe, fun, and sustainable environment for recreation, public, wildlife, and wild places around Jackson Hole.
Click here to donate or read on for further details about TBCA…
Our mission: Through grassroots efforts and dedication to Teton-area winter backcountry recreation, our mission is to promote public safety, community, stewardship, and sustainable access for Teton-area winter backcountry users. TBCA addresses these goals through dialogue, public information, problem solving, and advocacy.
During the winter of 2020-2021, here are some of the initiatives that your donation will directly support:
- Teton Pass Ambassador Program: The Teton Pass Ambassador program is appallingly underfunded by the U.S. Forest Service. As a result, our Teton Pass Ambassador, Jay Pistono, serves much of his time without any compensation and without health benefits. We all know what a valuable service the Ambassador provides. Please pitch in what you can to support this position.
- Volunteer Ambassador Program: Your donation also will assist TBCA in managing our Volunteer Ambassador Program, which places qualified volunteers at key locations to convey responsible recreation and safety information to users, provide area orientation, help to manage parking, and assist visitors where needed. This program complements the on-going and outstanding work of our Teton Pass Ambassador, Jay Pistono.
- TBCA Communication Strategy – One of our greatest priorities is improving our communication strategy so that we can be the most effective in achieving our mission. Projects we will undertake in this ongoing effort include: optimizing our website, creating a phone app, creating a blog, producing regular newsletters, maintaining our membership list and mailing list, building our membership so that we are reaching more people, and hiring a part-time employee to administer these efforts on a day-to-day basis.
Teton Backcountry Alliance was founded in 2018. Since then, here are some of the ongoing projects we have undertaken, all of which we will continue to pursue with your donation:
- Teton Pass FLAP Grant: In autumn 2020, TBCA 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
- Pandemic Powder: TBCA led the local discussion and dissemination of information on protecting ourselves and others from COVID19 in the backcountry setting. Many are predicting we’ll have an extra busy winter of backcountry skiing & riding because the limited service at resorts and a general interest in getting away from others into the wilderness. Articles in the NYTs and WSJ referencing backcountry skiing as “the sport of the pandemic” and listing Teton Pass as a great place for beginners don’t help. Some have concerns that the year will bring overloaded parking and many inexperienced people traveling the backcountry. TBCA has been working with BTNF and others to communicate key messages to visitors so they understand the ethics of using our backcountry and have access to information resources. To help spread the word, social media and hard copy flyers will be distributed to all who rent BC gear and purchase guidebooks.
- Teton Pass public meetings: TBCA held public meetings in Wilson and Victor in the winter of 2018-19 to raise awareness about Teton Pass issues. The meetings were well attended, generated constructive discussion, and influenced the Jackson Hole ski culture to be more responsible for our impacts and caring for others.
- Bighorn Sheep public meetings: TBCA hosted public meetings, and provided food, entertainment, and informational presentations about the importance of protecting the imperiled Teton bighorn sheep herd. These meetings went a long way to increase public awareness of the problem and knowledge of sheep biology. The primary intent was to engage backcountry skiers in assisting regional biologists in protecting the herd.
- 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” in 2019 that provided free shuttle transportation up the Pass from Wilson.
- AED Defibrillator: TBCA purchased and installed a small quonset hut containing an AED defibrillator on Teton Pass for use in the case of a health emergency on the Pass.
- 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 in 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.
- Commenting on ski area development projects: Both Snow King and Grand Targhee ski areas submitted proposals to the Forest Service to expand their boundaries and add new lift service operations south of the existing resorts. The Snow King expansion has completed its EIS process and the Forest Service has released a Record of Decision approving the expansions. TBCA filed a letter of objection. The Grand Targhee proposal is currently under review by the Forest Service. Part of this process is consideration of concerns expressed by hundreds of individuals and organizations. Read TBCA’s concerns here. Both expansions involve areas with historically low snowfall and important wildlife habitat. Snowmaking will be required for downhill skiing, drawing on precious water resources and altering the local soundscape. Both expansions would subtract from backcountry skiing / riding opportunities, and create significant impacts to their ecosystems. TBCA encouraged the resorts instead to modify operations within their existing permitted areas.
- Facilitating discussion about local radio protocol: The Wasatch and Telluride areas now use designated radio channels that can be monitored by groups to allow for inter-group communications. These channels are not for chatter, but for sharing critical information, such as avalanche observations or calling for others for assistance. TBCA is leading the discussion among local backcountry skiers and agencies to decide if such a system would be appropriate in the Jackson Hole area mountains.
Please donate here.