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New Plan underway for Moose-Wilson Corridor. National Park Service back tracking on the 2007 EIS Decision

(For additional background, please read our article on the history of the Moose-Wilson Corridor)

Currently, Grand Teton National Park has embarked on a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Moose Wilson Corridor between Teton Village and Moose. While a pathway was approved for the south half in the 2007 decision, the NPS is reconsidering that decision again.

The Park Service contracted for multiple studies, and has produced a draft EIS open for comment. The plan is available at http://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/management/mwccmp.htm where you can get the full background and draft EIS. This plan proposes to supersede the existing 2007 EIS ROD for the Moose-Wilson section.

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The National Park Service Moose-Wilson Corridor EIS Preferred Alternative C would eliminate the pathway previously approved on the south half. The park would pave the remaining 1.2-mile dirt road section, add a number of new and improved parking lots, and impose limits how many cars (200) and people (550) can be in the corridor at any one time. Instead of a pathway, the park proposes to reduce the road speed limit to 20, with bicycles in the road with cars, and no consideration for pedestrians or people in wheelchairs. It includes nothing at all about regional transportation, or working with the community on a shuttle to help address access. There is nothing for winter use, no fat bikes allowed. To manage summer traffic, the NPS would build large traffic waiting lanes on both ends, so cars can wait for a turn to visit the rural road.

Wyoming Pathways believe the National Park Service and Grand Teton National Park can do better than that. Our comment letters from Scoping and the Draft Alternatives phases are available. Unfortunately, many of our comments have so far been “considered and dismissed”, in park service planning lingo.

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ut there is still an opportunity to help the park improve the final decision. Nothing has been decided yet and the comment period was just extended to January 30, 2016.

Wyoming Pathways continues to support an enhanced decision that includes:

  • A well-designed safe pathway along the entire 7-mile Moose-Wilson corridor; to connect the existing pathways in Moose to the existing community pathways at Granite Creek entry, creating a 30-mile loop via Jackson and connecting all major visitor centers in the south half of Jackson Hole with a safe pathway.
  • Build the southern section to the LSR Visitor Center first.
  • Phase the northern section later to complete archeological studies needed. Then shift the northern road out of the prime wetland section to help wildlife, move the existing road to the east, and add a pathway to Moose.
  • Good pathway design with proper sight distance will solve concerns with bears.
  • The Park should participate in developing regional transportation solutions with local, state and federal agencies collaborating to provide quality visitor access and help protect park resources.
  • A small alternative transit shuttle should be pioneered to take car pressure off the Moose-Wilson road.
  • Enhanced winter access for Nordic skiing, snowshoes, and to allow fat bikes on groomed roads and pathways.
  • Change the visitor limit system to one that rewards people when they use alternative transportation like biking and walking. Allow more people, manage cars.

None of those options are in the park’s draft preferred alternative, but this can be changed with positive comments.

Please help and comment. Wyoming Pathways will be sending out reminders after the holidays in early January during the final month of the comment period. For additional background, please read Wyoming Pathways’ comment letters for Scoping (Moose-Wilson.PreAlt.Comment.WyoPath.Final) and Draft Alternatives (Moose-Wilson-Scoping-Comment-Wyoming-Pathways).