In a new agreement finalized this week, Teton County work crews will work to groom snow for skiers along a section of Teton Park Road in Grand Teton National Park.
A memorandum of understanding signed by Grand Teton National Park and Teton County allows the county to groom 15-miles of the snow-covered road between Taggart Lake trailhead and Signal Mountain Lodge, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Grand Teton public affairs office.
The pilot program calls for county road crews to groom snow along the road inside the park, generally on Saturdays, but possibly on additional days each week. In addition, park staff will continue to groom other days of the week as time and staffing allow. This agreement allows for grooming to occur until plowing operations get underway to facilitate the spring opening of park roads to vehicles.
The road is a popular spot for cross-country skiing and skate skiing, and is also used for access by snowshoers and others. Park and county officials said they reached the partnership agreement in part to support healthy outdoor recreation on the popular winter trail within Grand Teton.
Since 2002, park staff have periodically groomed the road whenever time and funding allowed. However, financial and staffing constraints often prevent grooming from occurring on a consistent basis.
As a part of the agreement, Grand Teton National Park Foundation, the park’s primary fundraising partner, will accept restricted private donations for the purpose of grooming the Teton Park Road, and will reimburse Teton County for its costs.
Kevin Schneider, acting superintendent for Grand Teton, said he hopes “the pilot program will provide a measure of certainty for Nordic and skate skiers who regularly use the Teton Park Road for recreation and inspiration.”
Schneider said the cooperative efforts on grooming provides “an opportunity for park visitors to enjoy healthy activities, such as skiing and snowshoeing, while surrounded by the unparalleled beauty and serenity of a Teton winter.”
Teton County will use the same equipment and staff that already groom a portion of pathways in and around Jackson, Wyo.
Steve Ashworth, Teton County Parks & Recreation Department director, said the agreement allows the county to expand its winter trail grooming program “to include a favorite destination within Grand Teton National Park for locals and visitors, and we look forward to a successful program through the remainder of the season.”
The road’s grooming status will be updated on Grand Teton’s recorded road condition hotline at 307-739-3682 and posted on the park’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GrandTetonNPS. The Teton County Parks & Recreation’s website at http://www.tetonparksandrec.org will also provide grooming status updates.
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