Development of South Park West is in its early stages. Over the past decade and a half, Snake River Fund has played an integral role in the ownership transfer process of this parcel from Bureau of Land Management to Teton County. Through much of that process, we have promoted a vision supported by so many in the community – a river-side park along the banks of the Snake with ample parking, greenspaces, group shelters, and ecologically friendly access to the river and adjacent wetlands. With a direct connection to the popular South Park Boat Ramp to the east, and a lack of passive, riverside spaces in our community, such a vision makes sense.
There has been discussion over the past few weeks of plans for South Park West that diverge drastically from the original community-shared river park concept. Teton County is now considering the possibility of installing two artificially turfed and lighted softball fields on this parcel. This vision runs counter to community desires and compromises years of consensus vision. Such development will encroach upon intended greenspace, limited access to the river and wetlands, increase travel time for athletes intending to use these fields, increase traffic south of town for commuters, and relegate the vast majority of South Park West to one-dimensional use.
As this process continues, the Snake River Fund and our supporters will urge Teton County to honor the work that has been done over the past decade by the community and various stakeholders to responsibly develop a riverside park. While softball fields have a place in Jackson Hole, that place should not be a part of South Park West.
To better understand the planning, decision making process, and community involvement over the past two-plus decades, please review this timeline –
The Snake River Fund is committed to upholding decades of work and community vision for South Park West. Please help us in advocating for a passive river-side park that honors the viewshed, protects available habitat, and realizes community needs.