Holistic Planning is CRUCIAL
TLDR (Too long, didn’t read);
There needs to be an alternative plan that focuses on wildlife permeability and ample movement corridors through Stilson and to the underpasses! What is proposed isn’t enough.
The Stilson Transit Center continues to pit planners, wildlife officials, Parks and Recreation, JHMR officials and other concerned members of the County’s planning process against each other. The property, which was once considered as the home for the Jackson Rodeo before concerns for traffic, lights, noise and impacts on wildlife stopped consideration for the idea, remains a challenging location for the disparate needs of a semi-urban populous. Current plans appear to be equally as challenging, particularly for wildlife in this critical corridor.
Jackson Hole continues to grow, and wildlife continues to be crowded out of the areas where human-wildlife coexistence is most critical. Stilson will be a critical example, as planned.
One thing is certain. The human population is more capable of adjusting to changes in our environment and facilities than wildlife. If too much development and human activity are placed in front of the wildlife crossings, animals will not use them.
Stilson is an important element of the transportation future of Wilson and Jackson Hole. It will be built. Greater consideration for the needs of wildlife is warranted, especially if we are truly concerned with the future of our wildlife populations and their vitality.
What’s the Status?
Right now the Stilson Development is just in the planning stages. JHMR and Teton County Parks and Recreation have prepared 4 development options. None of which prioritize ensuring the success of the multi-million dollar wildlife crossing project.
- An alternative development option should be on the table and should include:
- Uphold the Comprehensive plan – Most of the project elements are components of a complete neighborhood, which Stilson is not. Stilson is in subarea 9.3 of the Comprehensive Plan where “redevelopment should be sited and designed to improve wildlife permeability and enhance wildlife habitat connections…”
- Incorporate wildlife needs and Wyoming Game and Fish endorsement – Development options need to incorporate a 200-meter wildlife corridor to ensure the success of the multi-million-dollar wildlife underpasses (WYGF letter to TC Planning Department 6-25-23 and Wachob and Smith, 2003).
- Ensuring the success of multi-million-dollar, multi-partner, wildlife crossings by not putting too much development and human activity at Stilson.
- Preservation of existing Teton County Scenic Preserve Trust Easement – The open space easement was dedicated in perpetuity; the proposed development should not encroach on easement.
- Landscape-scale, ecosystem approach to planning.
Let your voice be heard! JHMR is hosting two open houses about the Stilson Development:
📍November 6th, Stilson Lot Open House at 5:00 pm at the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole
📍November 7th, Stilson Lot Open House at 5:00 pm at the Wilson Elementary School