Park parks 1-way road
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
October 23, 2012
If the Moose-Wilson Road ever becomes a one-way route, it won’t be next summer, Grand Teton National Park officials said Monday.
A 2.8-mile stretch of the narrow, winding road, which connects Teton Village to Moose, was tentatively slated to close to southbound traffic beginning in 2013. The plan, intended to cut traffic and improve visitor experiences, was opposed by Teton County commissioners and a number of prominent Jackson Hole organizations.
Park Superintendent Mary Gibson-Scott began consulting with community leaders two weeks ago and received mixed feedback, Grand Teton spokewoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said.
The responses ultimately prompted the park to kick the plan down the road.
“Based on that feedback, we’ve decided to wait a year,” Anzelmo-Sarles said.
The park will “spend the 2013 summer season focusing on data collection and continuing to collaborate with various stakeholders in the community,” she said.
The precursor to Grand Teton’s 2007 transportation plan, an environmental impact statement, lists seven options under an “adaptive management plan” designed to alleviate congestion without altering Moose-Wilson’s rustic character.
The “strategies” listed include reversible flow, one-way southbound traffic, gate restrictions on through traffic, time-of-day restrictions, a cap on the number of vehicles, a separated pathway, and one-way northbound traffic. The last plan was being proposed.
“The [strategy] that was initially brought to the table was the one that was was considered most likely to succeed,” Anzelmo-Sarles said. “Nothing was off the table.”
Officials with the town of Jackson and Teton County commended the park’s announcement Monday.
“I think the Park Service really needs to do a comprehensive evaluation of what the community’s needs are as well as what their needs are,” town councilor Greg Miles said. “It made absolutely no sense, to me, to do a one-way road. It’s been a two-way road historically, and that’s worked great.”
County Commission Chairman Ben Ellis was relieved by Gibson-Scott’s decision to hold off on the plan, but said there is more to be done in the meantime. He, along with Mayor Mark Barron, met Friday with Gibson-Scott.
“We want to be very clear that what we’re asking for is a process, with a real adaptive management plan with measurable outcomes and measurable goals,” Ellis said during a meeting Monday.
Ellis and Barron are scheduled to meet today with national Park Service Regional Director John Wessels in Denver to discuss the possibility of creating a pathway along the Moose-Wilson Road.