January Conservation Chronicle

Written by: Dave Sollitt, Executive Director

Welcome to the new Conservation Chronicle. We’ve received a lot of feedback from you – our readers – that the Conservation Chronicle is a terrific source of information on what is happening to Jackson Hole’s wildlife, what wild places are threatened, and how we are engaging the community to preserve the character of Jackson Hole. We also learned that many of you struggled to keep up with receiving – and reading – two issues a month. So we have made the Conservation Chronicle a monthly newsletter! But, we will send you any time-sensitive news.  


2023 – The Year in Review. 

The Alliance was busy in 2023. We have built an entirely new team in the past year:

  • Amy Kuszak – Community Planning Director
  • Frances Murray – Development Director
  • Kaya Patten-Fusselman – Outreach Director
  • Kelsey Persyn – Civic Engagement Manager
  • Kevin Krasnow PhD – Conservation Director 

I evolved from being an Alliance Board Member of four years, to being the Executive Director in October of 2022, and I have had the honor and privilege of putting this remarkable team together. If you haven’t had the chance to meet them, we hope to see you at one of our events this year to meet them in person. 

The team hit the ground running in 2023. Below is a partial list of the consequential program initiatives that we worked on last year, and will continue to work on in 2024:

  • Karns Meadow – We are helping our community design a park, while also preserving this special meadow and the important habitat and wetlands along Flat Creek.  We are advocating for eliminating or minimizing impermeable surfaces (including a paved pathway and paved parking areas) and  the creation of a park focusing on connection to nature. The Karns Family’s wish to create a natural space for humans and wildlife in the heart of  Jackson can be fulfilled by this outcome.
  • Kelly Parcel – The Wyoming Office of State Land Investments (OSLI) was considering a sale of the Kelly Parcel, a critical 640 acres surrounded by Grand Teton National Park but owned by the State. By State law, the parcel would have been put up for auction to the highest bidder, even if that was a real estate developer. The Alliance held a rally during the Western Governors’ Association, to encourage the State to preserve the Kelly Parcel by not putting the parcel up for auction and to find a solution that preserves this spectacular parcel within the Grand Teton National Park. Photos and features of our rally in the Town Square have been seen by well-over a million people worldwide, in the press, social media and other outlets. The auction never happened and a conservation solution to keep the parcel in the park is underway. 

  • Coexistence – We started a conversation on wildlife coexistence, presenting the results of a one-year study that outlines how the Jackson Hole community is interacting with wildlife, with the goal of living more successfully together. We created the first ever Teton County Wildlife Coexistence Monitoring Report that analyzes how well we are doing sharing space with our wild neighbors. We shared the challenges and benefits of coexistence in Jackson, and how it compares with coexistence in Southern Africa with a dual presentation at the Teton County Library, featuring the Alliance’s Kevin Krasnow and international anti-poaching authority, Damien Mander, of Akashinga in Zimbabwe.  In the coming year, we will release a second edition of our Coexistence report that will advance our understanding of how we can better live in concert with our wild neighbors.
  • Transportation – With the support of many, the Alliance concluded a multi-year study of HWY 22 traffic in Spring of 2023 to find ways to keep the traffic manageable on Wyoming’s busiest roadway, and to avoid a 4+ lane Highway 22 that would interfere with wildlife movement. The final report – available here – provides the findings of our study and recommendations. We continue working to keep traffic manageable for people and wildlife. We are participants in the WYDOT 22 Advisory Committee that will help WYDOT analyze various considered options for HWY 22. 

  • Northern South Park – The largest land development ever in Teton County has the potential to provide substantial workforce and affordable housing while preserving open space and wildlife coexistence, thanks to a comprehensive neighborhood plan. We continue to advocate for wildlife permeability, open space, natural resource protection, and  adherence with the approved neighborhood plan through dialogue with County Government and other stakeholders. This is now in an urgent phase which is detailed in this blog post.  

  • Stilson – We are engaged in evaluating expanding development in the Stilson facility at the intersection of 390 and 22, that combines parking and transit to and from Teton Village and the Resort. The Stilson property is located within the critical Snake River wildlife corridor for a variety of wildlife, including elk, moose and other important species. A wide variety of other uses and development have been proposed, including development that can block or otherwise impede the wildlife corridors and the underpasses built to support the corridor. This evaluation program will continue well into 2024. 

In addition to these programs, we have also given, and will continue to give, extensive public comments to your elected officials for the Town and County, on a variety of proposed commercial and private developments in Teton County that don’t adhere to the LDR’s or the Comprehensive Plan. 

We will keep you informed on these programs through the Conservation Chronicle in the coming year.

Phone: (307) 733-9417
685 S. Cache St. PO Box 2728
Jackson, Wyoming 83001