Memorial Day Weekend visitors to Grand Teton National Park will be the first to try out an 8-mile-long multi-use pathway that runs along the Teton Park Road from Moose to South Jenny Lake.
Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott says the pathway will open for public use on Saturday as an alternate recreational route between the Moose area and South Jenny Lake.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the pathway took place on May 17, 2008, and construction work began shortly after. HK Contractors, Inc. of Idaho Falls, the project’s construction company, worked steadily throughout the summer and fall of 2008, concluding the majority of pathway construction several months ahead of a fall 2009 projected completion date.
As the new multi-use pathway begins its first year of operation, visitors and local residents will have a unique opportunity to enjoy an area of the park not previously used in such a concentrated way. To help different types of users safely enjoy the pathway—and avoid disturbing wildlife— bicyclists, hikers, inline skaters and other users will be encouraged to follow some basic rules of courtesy and safety:
* Respect the rights of others
* Ride single file and stay on the right side of the pathway
* Observe bicycle speeds that are reasonable to the numbers and safety of other users
* Use a bell, whistle or voice whenever passing others
* Wear appropriate protective equipment such as helmets and pads
* Don’t use motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs and other mobility impaired devices)
* Be bear aware and maintain a safe distance from all wildlife
* Obey the sunset to sunrise closure for protection of park wildlife.
Because this new pathway bisects an important wildlife corridor not previously occupied by people on foot or on a bike, users will need to follow regulations designed to prevent adverse impacts to wild animals. For example, pets are not allowed on the multi-use pathway in Grand Teton to reduce potential negative impacts to wildlife from the presence of domestic pets.
In addition, baseline studies were conducted, and monitoring will continue, to assess the impacts that the pathway and its users may have on wildlife and their activities and movements. These studies will be used in the planning of future pathway segments.
“It is my sincere hope that the creation of this new pathway in Grand Teton offers visitors a safe alternative to explore one of the most stunning landscapes on earth," says Superintendent Gibson. "Through the pathway, along with our established hiking trails and new visitor centers, we have set the stage for people to make a personal connection to the natural world and become more conservation-minded—engaged in helping to care for the land, our incomparable wildlife, and our common heritage. We must keep in mind that all of us are stewards of this special place, for now and future generations.”