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TBCA Summer Solstice 2020 Newsletter

The season’s skiing/riding has ended for most, and what a season to remember! We had GREAT snow conditions along with lots of weirdness due to the pandemic closing parks, resorts, and parking areas. Despite the chaos, people did manage to get out and lay down some awesome lines. With another snow season on its way, your TBCA is looking ahead. Below are updates on what TBCA is working on now, what we hope to do in the future, and what was accomplished in 2019-20. Please share this newsletter with your friends and help our alliance grow stronger!

Become a Member: We encourage you to become a TBCA member! With membership you receive regular updates on winter backcountry happenings and a T-shirt. Most importantly, your membership supports our efforts to give winter backcountry users a strong voice. Annual membership is only $25.

Old Bill’s Fun Run Giving: TBCA operates on a very limited budget and incurs almost no administrative expenses. Our work depends on YOUR support. A gift to TBCA through the Jackson Hole Community Foundation during Old Bill’s Fun Run is the best way to make your support go farther, as every donation is matched up to 50%. If you contribute $100, TBCA receives ~$150! Contributions can be made starting August 1.

Teton Pass Corridor Management Planning: Avalanches, parking congestion, a parking lot closure, vehicle and pedestrian safety concerns, and other issues have led agencies and stakeholders to initiate a comprehensive corridor planning process for our beloved Teton Pass area. The Forest Service, WYDOT, and other agencies are currently seeking federal funds to launch the planning process. TBCA will participate, and has requested a letter of support for the process from the Teton County Commissioners. TBCA will keep you posted as the plan develops, and be sure to announce opportunities for you to be involved.

Teton Bighorn Sheep Meetings Conclude; Recommendations Coming This Autumn: The Teton Bighorn Sheep Working Group concluded its public info gathering meetings in May, holding the final two meetings virtually. The most recent meetings were recorded and will be posted here. The Working Group is now formulating its recommendations based on the information and recommendations received at the public meetings, and will announce them this autumn. At the last meeting, Jessica Western, the facilitator, emphasized that resulting actions will not be an “all or nothing” outcome, and that the group hopes to avoid outright closures wherever possible. Stay tuned for more details coming this fall.

Other Happenings:

  • An AED (automated external defibrillator)/First Aide Cache was placed in a small hut at the summit of Teton Pass this past winter, and will be put up again in November 2020. Here's Sheriff Matt Carr, Dr. David Shlim (AED/First Aid Cache Donor), Lt. Matt Brackin; Jane Gallie (AED/First Aid Cache Donor), and Jay Pistono in front of the cache.

  • With Stio, TBCA has initiated production of a film about Teton Pass, highlighting the need for stewardship and responsible use. It is not a promotional film.

  • TBCA has also requested that the speed limit at the summit of Teton Pass, now 55 mph, be reduced to ensure the safety of skiers and boarders crossing the road.

  • TBCA provided comments on proposed ski area expansion plans at Snow King’s summit and south-side backcountry.

  • TBCA representatives are now attending BTNF planning meetings to ensure that winter backcountry interests are properly considered in the process.

  • In January and again in February, TBCA ran Teton Pass Shuttle Days to explore the feasibility of and interest in a season-long transportation system servicing people to the top of the Pass. The events were successful. The question of whether a Teton Pass shuttle service is needed is open for discussion. (Does it help with the parking problem or just add more users?)

  • Finally, TBCA published articles with guidelines in local papers and on line about how to recreate in the backcountry during a pandemic. With the Forest Service, we also posted signs about distancing at key locations. Based on reports, most backcountry users were very responsible. This poster was designed by Jen Reddy for wide use.

TBCA currently has a small but energetic steering committee, but we need your help! If you would like to get involved as a donor or volunteer, please let us know by sending an email to:

Your TBCA Steering Committee,

Peggie DePasquale, Kim Havell, Gary Kofinas (chair), Josh Metten, Jay Pistono, Thomas Turiano

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