April 27, 2009
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that the new multi-use pathway within Grand Teton National Park will NOT open to public use until late May. The eight-mile-long pathway, which parallels the Teton Park Road from Dornan’s to South Jenny Lake, requires additional construction work to be completed before it can safely be used by the public. This work includes the final attachment of the Cottonwood Creek Bridge to its footers, stabilization of an uphill segment east of Windy Point, striping of the pathway surface, and the placement of all safety signs. In addition, the pathway is still covered by snowdrifts over much of its length. The pathway will remain closed to public use until all remaining construction work can be addressed, and users are requested to comply with this requisite closure. The opening date is dependent upon weather and construction progress.
As the new multi-use pathway gets phased into 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. Base line studies are underway to assess the impacts that the pathway and its users may have on park wildlife and their activities and movements. These studies will be used in the planning efforts of future pathway segments.
Special rules and regulations apply to the different park areas that are open to non-motorized use, and the new multi-use pathway will be no exception. When the pathway finally opens, bicyclists, inline skaters, hikers, and other pathway 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; use a bell, whistle or voice whenever passing others; wear appropriate protective equipment such as helmets and pads; observe bicycle speeds that are reasonable to the numbers and safety of other pathway users; don’t use motorized vehicles (exception of wheelchairs and other mobility impaired devices); be bear aware and maintain a safe distance from all wildlife; and obey the sunset to sunrise closure for protection of wildlife.
This new pathway bisects an important wildlife corridor not previously occupied by people on foot or on a bike; therefore, pathway users will need to follow special regulations designed to diminish adverse impacts to animals that use this area. For example, pets are not allowed on the multi-use pathway in Grand Teton National Park in order to reduce potential adverse impacts to park wildlife from the presence of domestic animals.
A formal announcement will be made after the remaining construction work has been completed and the pathway is finally open for public use. In future years, the pathway will simply open as the snow cover recedes—much like the hiking trails in the park become useable as snow melts.