The Snake River Gateways Project will soon begin phase two, starting with the improvements on the north side of Grand Teton National Park’s (Wyoming) Jackson Lake Dam.
The National Park Service and Grand Teton National Park Foundation created a partnership to work on this multi-year project, improving the river access points of the Snake River, according to the news release. This project will enhance the visitor experience, improve safety, restore the resilience of riparian areas, improve infrastructure, and emphasize accessibility for all.
In the upcoming days, construction will start on the north side of Jackson Lake Dam, having a minimal impact on the visitors during spring and summer.
Visitors can still access the area below the dam, providing opportunities like fishing and a place for boaters to launch on the Snake River. However, parking will be limited to accommodate crews working in the area and storage of materials.
From September 6 and possibly until spring 2023, a temporary visitor area closure is anticipated below the north side of the dam will take effect. This summer, the park will give updates regarding the temporary closures and recommended alternative routes for visitors.
The Jackson Lake Dam launch design will provide improved boat launching conditions and additional accessible site features.
Features include a boat ramp to accommodate two vehicles at a time, fully accessible sidewalks leading to two accessible fishing platforms, expanded parking, and improved site amenities such as picnic tables, bench seating, and bicycle parking. Additionally, visitor use areas for viewing and providing educational information about the Snake River will be established.
The Snake River Gateways project started during the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Wild Scenic Rivers Act and the 10th-anniversary celebration of the wild and scenic designation of the headwaters of the Snake River.
In 2009, the passing of the Craig Thomas Snake Rivers Headwaters Legacy Act of 2008 provided the national wild and scenic rivers system with 414 miles of rivers and streams from the Snake River Headwaters.
The National Park Service finalized the Snake River Headwaters Comprehensive River Management Plan and associated environmental assessment in 2014. It illustrated the improvements for the access points along the river and headwaters in the Grand Teton National Park.
In 2021, improvements for the Pacific Creek Landing were completed. For phase three of the project, the park will tackle work on the Moose Landing, which will begin in 2023.
The goal of the foundation is to raise $7.5 million for the improvements. With the help of the National Park Service’s $5.7 million, private philanthropy will give a margin of excellence that would be impossible otherwise, according to the news release.