January 9, 2019
Writer: Virginia Henry
Do you enjoy exploring the backcountry of Teton Pass? If you do, do you know the rules of recreating? If you’re not sure, or you need a little refresher don’t worry, the Teton Backcountry Alliance has got you covered.
“Our goal is to work to promote community stewardship, sustainable access and public safety for the Teton area backcountry users,” said Peggie DePasquale, a member of the steering committee.
The Alliance first started in 2018. The founders realized how important it was going to be to preserve the area and started this year off with bang.
On Jan. 9 there will be an event held at the base of Teton Pass in Wilson, Wyo. at the Stagecoach Bar. It starts at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction and drinks provided.
DePasquale said the purpose of the event is to help the community become aware of what needs to happen in order to keep Teton Pass open for recreation.
“The most glaring issue with the Teton Pass backcountry use is the fact that one of the most easily accessible areas has two avalanche passes that empty out onto the road,” she said.
Due to skiers and snowboarders not knowing where they should and should not be, avalanches have poured out onto the road below. “Last year a car was totally buried,” DePasquale said. “Luckily no one was injured.”
She expressed how awful it would be if one uninformed person ended up causing harm to someone else. Then the pass would be closed to everyone. This would be unfortunate as this backcountry, according to DePasquale, is one the best areas in the United States and the world.
The Teton Backcountry Alliance wants to help users assume more responsibility. Because Teton Pass is such a great place to recreate, other people who are from other places come to enjoy it. This means that even if the locals understand the rules and regulations, people could still be out there who don’t know what they are doing.
DePasquale urged outdoor enthusiasts to share their knowledge with others, to help them know the terrain and where they should be. Don’t assume that others know what they are doing.
Even if you miss the event on Jan. 9, you can still share your knowledge with others or ask others about the protocols.
“The area is not kept open for skiing and snowboarding, and other sorts of recreation,” she said. “It’s kept open for trucks to do break checks and safety concerns of the Wyoming Department of Transportation.”
In order to keep the pass from getting shut down the community must stay on good terms with the Wyoming Department of Transportation. “What we need to do is really show these officials that we want to be their allies,” DePasquale said. “We’re going to do everything we can do to help them do everything they need to do in order for us to keep doing what we want to do.”
Something everyone can do, is to park tightly - as there is limited space - respect others, take and impart tips about the landscape and be patient while you’re out and about.