Teton County is inviting everyone who uses and values the Teton River to help draft potential solutions to address increased recreational pressure on one of the valley’s most beloved natural resources.
After what may have been the busiest summer ever on the Teton, the county feels that it’s high time to look at management solutions. In the past few years, more users on the river have led to complaints from fishing guides, wildlife advocates, and ranchers. Big floating parties disrupt fishing and spook wildlife, while loose dogs chase cattle. Many people are concerned about overcrowding or lack of boat ramp etiquette at access points and long-term camping at the Rainey access.
All key stakeholders are welcome to join the two three-hour community charettes on Teton River management. A key stakeholder, in the county’s view, is anyone who is impacted by the use or have an influence on management of the river. That includes guides, outfitters, property owners along the river, ranchers, public agencies, and even casual users.
The first will be on Tuesday, Nov. 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. on Zoom. Register at tetonrivercharrette.eventbrite.com. The live virtual event is limited to 100 participants, but if you miss out there will be options to view a recording and submit your comments after the fact.
You may be forgiven for not knowing what a charette is; Teton Valley hasn’t had any of those since Victor’s New Mobility West Charette in 2016. It’s basically an intensive work session in which diverse members of the community collaborate and brainstorm in an environment that promotes innovation.
Idaho Fish & Game, Teton County, Friends of the Teton River, and Teton Regional Land Trust partnered to release a survey this fall, and received over 1,400 responses. During the charette, information will be shared on those results, as well as data from a 2018 Henrys Fork Foundation study and more recent user numbers collected this summer.
The second river charette will happen sometime in early winter. An independent contractor, Warm Springs Consulting, will facilitate the meetings. Friends of the Teton River has committed to fund the effort with at least $10,000 through private donations to the nonprofit.
The goal is to review and discuss policy options, and to eventually bring a river ordinance to the county commissioners in 2022.