County gets grant for Teton Pass planning

JACKSON — A federal program intended to improve access to public lands has granted $300,000 to study transportation, access points and wildlife-vehicle collisions on Teton Pass.

Teton County, the grant recipient, said March 18 the funding had been officially secured through the Federal Land Access Program, known as FLAP.

“FLAP supplements state and local resources for public roads with an emphasis on high-use recreation sites and economic generators,” a press release said. “With up to 200,000 visitors a year, three major trailheads and thousands of acres of public lands affected, this project easily fit the bill.”

Vehicle traffic over Teton Pass and use of the federal lands around Highway 22 have increased sharply since the 1990s. The flood of people and recreation use throughout the year has caused conflict, parking congestion and safety issues.

“Use of this area is not going to decrease so we need to develop a solid corridor management plan that looks at the issues holistically from Idaho to Wyoming,” Caribou-Targhee National Forest District Ranger Jay Pence said in the county’s press release.

The Caribou-Targhee and its adjoining national forest, the Bridger-Teton, have been in talks with Teton County, the state of Wyoming, Wyoming Department of Transportation, and advocacy groups like Wyoming Pathways and the Teton Backcountry Alliance over how to balance the demands on Teton Pass.

The $300,000 FLAP grant-funded study is an early step in a long-term effort to modernize infrastructure on Teton Pass.