Moose, WY, May 4, 2020—The National Park Service and Grand Teton National Park Foundation are working in partnership on a multi-year project, Snake River Gateways, to transform three river access sites along the Snake River. The project will enhance the visitor experience, improve safety, restore the resilience of riparian areas, improve infrastructure, and emphasize accessibility for all. Construction activities will begin this spring at Pacific Creek Landing, with work at Jackson Lake Dam and Moose Landing in the next few years.
"The Snake River Gateways Project will enhance visitor access and safety at several popular and beautiful locations along the iconic and scenic river," said Grand Teton National Park Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail. He added, "We simply could not make all of these critical improvements to these sites without the strong support from the Grand Teton National Park Foundation."
Pacific Creek Landing, located just north of the Moran area, will be temporarily closed to all river users and visitors during construction activities this spring and in the fall. There will be summer access to the site, after June 7, contingent upon a reopening of the park per public health guidelines. It is anticipated that a temporary closure will be in effect this fall beginning September 1, and possibly into spring of 2021.
All river users should be aware of the skills needed for navigating each section of river. During the temporary closure at Pacific Creek Landing, anyone putting in on the Snake River at Jackson Lake Dam will need to travel to Deadmans Bar, which requires an advanced skill set. River users may want to consider an alternate section of river recreation during this time.
The design for the Pacific Creek Landing will provide a safer experience with the addition of accessible site features and improved launching conditions. Visitor use areas for viewing and providing educational information about the Snake River will be established to prevent congestion at the launch ramp. Other planned features include redesigned parking areas, additional comfort station, bicycle parking, accessible pathways and viewing areas, restored social trails, redesigned roadways to provide more efficient and safe traffic flows, and improved park and wayfinding information. The volunteer Snake River Ambassadors, supported by the Foundation, will add capacity to address resource protection and safety issues as well as share information about the river's rich legacy through visitor contacts.
"We are pleased that work at Pacific Creek will begin this spring as part of this multi-year project," said Grand Teton National Park Foundation President Leslie Mattson. "We've been working closely with our partners in the park and a variety of stakeholders in the community to ensure that improvements at Pacific Creek benefit river users and visitors for years to come."
The project design was initiated in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the tenth anniversary of the wild and scenic designation of the headwaters of the Snake River. In 2009 the passage of the Craig Thomas Snake Rivers Headwaters Legacy Act of 2008 added 414 miles of rivers and streams of the Snake River Headwaters to the national wild and scenic rivers system.
The National Park Service finalized the Snake River Headwaters Comprehensive River Management Plan and associated environmental assessment in 2014. The plan defined the improvements to take place at access points along the river and headwaters in Grand Teton National Park.
The Foundation's goal is to raise $6.5 million to support improvements at all three sites, with $4 million raised to date. Funding for work at Pacific Creek Landing has been secured. Private philanthropy is providing a margin of excellence to the effort that would not be possible otherwise. The Foundation's contributions are also leveraging additional Centennial Challenge matching funds from the National Park Service, bringing the agency's total contribution to the project at over $5 million.
Yale Creek, Inc. Of Rexburg, Idaho, was awarded the construction contract for Pacific Creek Landing. Jorgensen Associates of Jackson, Wyoming, with support from Otak, of Denver, Colorado, provided the design for the project.