We’re making progress on protecting wildlife in Jackson Hole! On November 4, the Teton County Commission approved an update to the county’s wildlife fencing regulations, striking a balance between requests from wildlife advocates who want to make travel easier (and less deadly) for wildlife and livestock owners who want to be able to contain their domestic animals.
While neither side got everything it wanted, the update is a victory for wildlife in Jackson Hole.
“This update trends towards making all fences in the county more wildlife friendly,” said Conservation Program Manager Chelsea Carson in a recent News & Guide article. “I think it was a good level of compromise from both sides.”
The new fencing regulations exempt agricultural properties and properties over 70 acres from these wildlife friendly regulations. These updates were not a complete win for either side, but this compromise did bring some benefits to wildlife permeability. Highlights include a maximum height of 38 inches for Non-Livestock Properties, and a maximum Top Rail height of 42 inches for Livestock Fencing. Also, special purpose fencing that is over 120 feet long must include drop down or gaps to allow for wildlife to move through the area.
But it’s not over yet…
A landowner in Wilson asked to build a privacy fence along their property line all the way up to a water body. This would have completely blocked wildlife’s ability to move through an important riparian corridor and could have forced them towards a roadway, leaving them with no safe passage. Luckily, the County Planning Commission recommended denial of this variance with a 5-0 vote. Now the decision moves to the County Commission – please email them to encourage them to deny the variance! This decision will set a precedent that privacy fencing must follow the rules and be wildlife-friendly.
Building on this momentum, we’re supporting the County in updating their wildlife feeding regulations and requiring bear proof trash cans county wide. Learn more here.