One of the most important elements of a Healthy Lifestyle Based Economy is a low angle, multi-use trail network close to the downtown core of a community. In Victor, there is an incredible opportunity to develop a trail network like this in the Mike Harris area just to the East of downtown. Imagine a year round, recreational parking area that supports non-motorized and motorized trail access for residents and visitors alike. Combine this with a campground, close proximity to Jackson Hole, and a connection to Victor along the Old Jackson Highway and you have the makings of a true economic driver for the entire Teton Valley.
Currently, the City of Victor is putting the finishing touches on a request to the Teton Basin Ranger District of the USFS for the development of up to 15 miles of non-motorized trails, a year round parking facility, winter grooming for skiing, fat biking, and snowmobiling, and the completion of a multi-use connection from Mike Harris to the Big Hole mountains. This is an ambitious and incredibly forward thinking project that supports the goals of the City of Victor Comp Plan, the Teton County Comp Plan, the Southern Valley Trails Project, and Envision Victor. As a resident and business owner in Teton Valley I think it will have long lasting, positive economic impacts for everyone who has invested in Teton Valley.
This project will not happen over night and it’s important for us to all be aware of the process. First, the City of Victor submitted a project proposal to the Forest Service this past Winter. The Teton Basin Ranger District responded to the request with a letter asking for additional information to be provided before they can accept the request as a formal “Proposed Action” (PA). The Forest Service has learned, through litigation unfortunately, the more comprehensive the PA the better. Taking the time to address potential concerns that may arise in the next phase, “Public Scoping”, will significantly increase the quality of the effort which ultimately should be focused on protection of our natural resources as well as support for the local economy.
If the USFS accepts the PA, the project will be put out for Public Scoping. The Scoping process allows anyone, or any organization, to voice concerns with the project Again, the more work done to address potential concerns about the project, from the start, will reduce the chance of unforeseen efforts to derail the project.
If the project is moved forward after Scoping, the Teton Basin ranger District will need to analyze the project before the Forest Service begins their decision making under the guidance of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the Forest Management Act (FMA). With any luck, the project could move through Scoping in a few months and then through the NEPA process to approval in 7-8 months. Not over night, but pretty quick all things considered.
Of course the USFS is extremely under funded and the amount of study and subsequent paper work needed is significant. Therefore, a third party consultant needs to be hired to provide the USFS with assistance. The City of Victor is currently speaking with consultants who specialize in this work to find the right fit. Likely, the project will be broken into 2 phases. The first phase will bring the project through Scoping and the second phase will include the NEPA work. The City is exploring options to help cost share the consultant and hopefully Teton County, supporting non-profits, and the community in general will help with the rest.
In the near future, look for ways to engage and make your voice heard about this project. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly and I’ll do my best to shed any light I can. Here’s to the development of a Healthy Lifestyle based Economy!
For the past few months, I’ve been planted at a desk across the street working on a new project for Fitzgerald’s Bicycles. To explain AXLPATH, it takes a little background info so bear with me.
It’s been a wild ride over the last 12 years of running Fitzgerald’s Bicycles. When it started in 2002, there was no larger intention behind it other than developing a Summer job to fuel my passion for powder that brought me to the Tetons in the first place. I have always loved bikes, and working in bike shops, but my reason for being was really centered in the Winter. How could I stay in Jackson Hole and log more Winter vertical and face shots? I needed a Summer job.
As the years ticked off, the shop evolved and so did I. One employee lead to another, 10 customers on the first day lead to thousands, and my love for cycling grew right along with the business. The bicycle was no longer a compliment to my Winter passions – it became the passion. Where skiing and snowboarding gave me a personal high and provided a short term fix, bicycles feed my soul and give me a reason for being. The love for riding my bike lead to a passion for what bicycles do.
Bicycles transform individuals, Bicycles transform communities, Bicycles can transform the World. And we want to help.
Over the years I have spent a lot of time thinking “what is it all about?”. Why do I run a bike shop? What are we trying to accomplish? And WHY does Fitzgerald’s Bicycles exist? Our Mission Statement came out of these thoughts years ago and has been a guiding light for us, “Fitzgerald’s Bicycles exists to Grow Support for Cycling, the Success of our Community, and Respect for the Planet”.
But there has been something missing in the ways in which we broadcast that message. Often, it feels awkward to speak about the reasons behind the life Jannine and I have chosen and the business that supports it. I’m not really sure why, but I find myself falling into old patterns of talking more about the cool products we sell than the reasons Why we sell them. Well, I’m looking to break that pattern so here is the first in a series of blog posts that attempt to speak openly and honestly about Why we exist, How we operate, and What we sell – “The Transparent Bike Shop”.
The Transparent Bike Shop concept is born from our ‘Why’:
Local Bike Shops build Community and just as importantly, Communities build Local Bike Shops. This two way street of support can be even stonger if you have a greater understanding of what makes the shop tick. My intention is to bring you into a conversation about HOW a bike shop operates and more importantly WHY it operates. I hope I can keep up with this intention as the season ramps up and our lives get crazy. That will be way easier if you engage – let me know what you think!
After all, what is the purpose of a blog? We think the purpose is to let you know what we think, and what we feel, and then bring you into a conversation about it.
Comment here, email us, post to our Facebook… join the conversation.
ACTION ALERT: We need you to act THIS WEEK to save $1.7M pathway funding!
Here at Fitzgerald’s Bicycles nothing is more important to us than Building our Community and Growing Cycling. Right now we have a wonderful opportunity to do both, or to have both disappear at a final hurdle.
How the funding is threatened: The City of Victor was awarded $1.7 million dollars through the Federal Lands Access Program to build a paved pathway from Moose Creek to the Idaho/Wyoming border on the north/east side of Hwy 33 east of Victor. The award came with the condition that the City of Victor matches just over $120,000 in cash. The City along with Teton County Idaho, private individuals and a grant from the Community Foundation of Teton Valley were able to raise all but $100,000. To make up the remainder, the City of Victor was encouraged to apply for a $100,000 matching grant from the Local Highway Technical Assistance Commission (LHTAC). They were encouraged to do so from LHTAC as they have a program that is geared specifically for matching federal grants.
That application is now in Jeopardy of not being funded.
The application is being presented to the LHTAC commissioners this week and a majority of the staff does not want to use the funds on a pathway project vs. a road project. Needless to say, we are very concerned about losing this grant and the $1.7 Million Dollars for our community.
In addition, Teton County Wyoming is applying for a grant to build the following pathway section from State Line to Coal Creek. However, they will not apply for the funding if the Idaho section is unfunded.
How you can ACT: There are several actions you can take to contact the commissioners before they meet this week, we have bulleted them below, please take a few minutes to act on whichever feels most comfortable to you.
Please feel free to copy and paste this form letter into any emails you send, and add your own personal touches.
Thank you for your support on this issue and we look forward to seeing you on our new pathway.
We take it for granted sometimes. You get on your Mountain Bike and go for a ride. Simple. Well it wasn’t always that way. In the late 80′s / early 90′s Mountain Bikers gathered for grass routes events that brought the tribe together and showed land managers that this new user group was important and needed to be recognized. Over time the sport grew and these “races” lost their vibe and became athletic hammer fest events. Old school MTBers look back longingly at those early days and say… man, those were the days!
Well here we are again, a new sport, a new set of access issues, same great vibe! Fat biking has emerged from obscurity and is now being paid attention to by the population at large. But access issues persist and the need for community building, grass routes events is greater than ever. Over the next two weekends the Greater Teton Region will be hosting two amazing examples of events created for the rider. not the event promoter. No matter if you are a racer or not, an advanced rider or a someone new to Fat Biking, come out and show your support for cycling, for community building, and for the Fat tire revolution!
Below are the event details and please email back directly if you have any questions at all.
Is this a motley crew or what?!? It’s an image of the Fitzgerald’s staff (minus Michael and me) taken by one of our customers, local photographer, Jonathan Selkowitz. We are gearing up for Black Friday and the upcoming Holiday Buying Season. Teton County, ID and Teton County, WY are devoid of any Walmarts or Targets or Best Buys, but it is a given that there will be lots of sales starting Friday in both valleys. What does this mean? This means that we all have a great opportunity, right here and now, to spend our money locally.
What does “Keep It Local” really mean? It means (more…)