Teton County and its river management consultants are in the early stages of deciding how and what local officials might oversee on the Snake River within local jurisdiction.
Regulations and oversight already exist on north sections of the river in Grand Teton National Park, as well as south portions of the river within the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
However, to date, the increasingly popular stretches of river outside of the park and forest – including the stretch from the Wilson Bridge to South Park – are largely unregulated in commercial and private use, both on the water and at public boat ramps.
In a recent workshop on Dec. 10, river management experts with Confluence Research and Consulting began walking County Commissioners through more than 50 issues to be considered in developing a draft river management plan.
The 50-plus issues will eventually determine how the river stretches in Teton County will be managed – as a primitive wilderness, a paved Disneyland, or somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
Due to time constraints, officials were unable to complete all 53 points in their two-hour Dec. 10 workshop, but they have scheduled time to complete the discussion on January 7.
The worksheet for the meeting can be viewed here. The full video of the workshop can be accessed here. The consultants, Bo Shelby and Doug Whittaker, pointed out that the data provided on use levels is still preliminary, and ranges may change.
The consultants expect to take information gathered from their workshops with commissioners and create a draft management plan, which will include a full range of alternatives for consideration by officials and the public. The draft is tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of February. The county plans to hold a public forum on the draft toward the end of April.
Once the draft has been vetted and the public has had an opportunity to weigh in, a final management plan will be created.