Snake River facilities to open April 15

As 2014’s epic ski season drifts to an end, the Jackson Hole community is turning to other favorite recreational pursuits, including fishing and padding.

In preparation for this annual shift in recreational focus, the Snake River Fund has announced that facilities at the Wilson Bridge river access will reopen for the season on April 15. This includes two public bathrooms, trash and recycling receptacles.

Wilson beach and river users are requested to continue to pack out their trash and recycling until the facilities open.Wilson Beach -- photo by Morris Weintraub, The Image Well

The Snake River Fund maintains the public amenities at the Wilson Bridge Boat Ramp primarily through donations from commercial rafting and fishing outfitters, as well as from individual river users in the community and grants from the Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming Game and Fish Department.…

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Draft Snake River Management Plan released

What kind of place will the Snake River in Jackson Hole be in years to come? The answer to that question is up to the community, and this is the time to discuss it.

Will the Snake River be a Disneyland for boaters, a winding corridor of nature and solitude, or something inbetween? Are there limits to crowds on the river? How should commercial businesses that use the river be regulated? Should private boaters be managed or pay fees to use facilities?

A draft Snake River Management Plan released in mid-March will provide guidance on myriad issues regarding the Snake River in unregulated sections within Teton County jurisdiction. The draft plan includes a range of alternatives and options, but it does not identify a preferred alternative.…

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Group makes ‘handy’ donation to river rescuers

By mission, the Snake River Fund strives to work hand-in-glove with its partners. So when given the opportunity to help alleviate cold hands of warm-hearted river rescuers, it was, hands down, an easy choice.

The Snake River Fund donated $2,000 to Star Valley Search and Rescue (SVS&R) in 2013 to help the community volunteer organization purchase water gloves, as well as repair one of its rafts.

Star Valley Search and Rescue is an important player in Jackson Hole-area river emergencies, responding to an estimated 6 to 18 river-related calls per year. Most of the SVS&R river-related calls are to the Snake River Canyon, with less-frequent calls to the Greys and Salt rivers. SVS&R has 48 volunteers who are organized by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in Afton, Wyo.…

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More than 50 river management issues up for discussion

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.

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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.…

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Teton County to discuss river management on Tuesday, Dec. 10

Teton County officials will review a broad range of alternatives to manage the Snake River this week. The commissioners have scheduled a workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. until noon at the County Administration building to hear findings of a 2013 inventory and stakeholder study, and to answer critical guiding questions for the development of a river management plan.

The county’s consultants, Confluence Research and Consulting, have spent the past six months studying the users, impacts and capacities of the Snake River corridor within Teton County jurisdiction.

According to county officials, the research team will present their findings and conclusions, and work through a step-by-step discussion of critical issues and opportunities for the commissioners to consider.  The results will allow the team to develop a comprehensive management plan to reflect the Board of County Commissioners’ direction.…

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Whitewater floaters increasing after recession-year lows

The number of visitors and residents enjoying  float trips in the Snake River Canyon is back on an upward trajectory and has climbed out of  low points reached during the Great Recession.

More than 85,500 people enjoyed float trips in the canyon during the 2013 season, according to Bridger-Teton National Forest statistics. That compares to approximately 70,000  floaters in 2011, the lowest number of users in the past decade.

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The whitewater industry overall has reached  new highs in revenues for the past seven years, in part due to industry increases in ticket prices for  popular whitewater outings in Jackson Hole. Gross revenues for the whitewater industry in 2013 reached $5,716,094, compared to a seven-year-low of $4,410,707 in 2009.

The figures come from reports at the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s November 22 fall wrap-up meeting for commercial outfitters who run the whitewater stretch of the Snake River.…

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Flat Creek Trout Habitat Project Underway

A long-term project to improve native cutthroat trout habitat in Flat Creek within the National Elk Refuge is underway as of October 2013.

Called the Flat Creek Elk Refuge Enhancement Project, the program is a collaboration of a number of agencies, foundations and nonprofits, including the Snake River Fund. The project partners include:  Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Snake River Fund, Rocky Mountain Elk, Patagonia, Teton Conservation District, Teton County Weed and Pest, and the National Elk Refuge.

The objectives of the efforts are to remove the past in-stream structures, reduce sediment, and increase habitat for native fish.

Flat Creek is an iconic fixture in Jackson Hole for tourists, anglers and the native cutthroat trout. Flat Creek has experienced direct and indirect alteration to the stream as the result of changes in water and land management activities during the last century.…

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River Management Planning Update, Fall 2013

A process to determine how to best manage stretches of the Snake River that fall within Teton County jurisdiction continues.

Teton County’s consultants, Confluence Research and Consulting, recently submitted  a summary of potential  management issues. The summary is based on discussions at the 2013 Summit on the Snake, existing agency and media documents, field work conducted in June 2013, and structured phone interviews with a number of river users, outfitters, guides, community environmental leaders and agency staff.Snake_River_through_Jackson_Hole_summary_of_issues_v6

Confluence’s next step will be to present a range of “conceptual alternatives” for a Teton County river management plan. That report is targeted to go before County Commissioners in a workshop on December 9. Based upon the outcome of the county workshop, the consultants will prepare a draft recommendation document outlining more detailed and targeted solution options.…

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New Signs Highlight Valley’s Wild and Scenic Waterways

sign2webIn 2009, the Jackson Hole community celebrated the federal designation of the upper Snake River and its headwaters as Wild and Scenic waters. Today, new roadside signs will allow millions of travelers to recognize what the community already knows – that the Snake and its tributaries hold important scenic, wildlife, recreation and historic values for the nation.

This fall the Bridger-Teton National Forest, in partnership with the Snake River Fund, installed a dozen signs throughout the valley pointing out rivers and streams that fall within the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

The Snake River Fund’s Executive Director, Rebecca Reimers said the nonprofit organization teamed up on the project with the Forest Service in hopes of bringing attention and awareness to nearly 400 miles of Wild and Scenic waterways in the Upper Snake River watershed.…

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The importance of the Snake River – Pecha Kucha style

A new Jackson Hole event kicked off in October of 2013 in hopes of inspiring the preservation of natural capital vital to the community’s economic success.

The Japanese artform of Pecha Kucha was chosen as a way to tell that story during the weekend’s events, with local organizations asked to participate. Snake River Fund Program Director Margaret Creel took on the challenge, and the Snake River Fund’s Pecha Kucha submission was one of 10 chosen to be included in the lineup.

Titled “The Snake River, a River Well Worth Loving,” the slideshow captures some of the ways the river — and the Snake River Fund’s education programming — can capture the heart of people who take advantage of Jackson Hole’s world class waterway.…

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