Teton Valley Trails and Pathways: $5,000
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley is honored to award this $5,000 grant to Teton Valley Trails and Pathways (TVTAP) to construct a trail causeway through a riparian area on the new Teton Creek Parallel trail. The Foundation strongly supports TVTAP’s efforts to develop new pathways for public use by residents and visitors.
Trails support our community’s health and draw visitors to our beautiful area. TVTAP will build a new section of trail in the heavily used Teton Canyon area and is seeking additional funding to complete the construction of this new section fully. The Wyoming Recreational Trails Program recently awarded TVTAP $41,883. The award will fund the construction of .6 miles of a brand-new US Forest Service trail conceptually called the Teton Canyon Parallel Trail. The new trail will be a four-foot-wide crushed gravel trail. It will begin at the Sheep Bridge/Mill Creek main trailhead and head east over flat terrain along the south side of Teton Canyon Road adjacent to the Grand Teton Canal Company canal. It will be open to foot traffic, bicycles, and equestrians. In the winter, it will be ungroomed and available for winter use. This .6-mile section is only the beginning. The Forest Service plans to extend the Parallel trail further into Teton Canyon to connect with the end of the existing Sheep Bridge trail via a bridge over Teton Creek. The USFS began planning for this trail as early as 1999.
TVTAP has a strong relationship with the USFS and applied for this Wyoming RTP grant in partnership with the USFS as the project is aligned with TVTAP’s mission of promoting a trails and pathways-connected community. There is a small funding shortage, however. Wyoming RTP grant funds pay for general trail construction but don’t consider the necessary trail features through wet areas. There is one 100-foot-long section of trail for which TVTAP needs additional funding to construct a causeway. This section of trail is in a riparian area and is consistently wet throughout the summer. It is unknown whether the area is wet due to canal wall failure or the presence of a spring. A specific trail construction solution is necessary – either a wooden boardwalk, drainage culvert, and a durable elevated causeway over the culvert. Without a drainage solution, trail users would veer off the muddy main trail and create a variety of user trails, damaging the riparian area and widening the main trail. TVTAP did not receive grant funding for this element of the project because the Wyoming RTP program disallowed awards for the purchase of construction materials due to uncertainty surrounding federal Made in America laws. See Wyoming RTP Grant Program FY
2023 Guidelines, Addendum #1, page 3, NEW #4 found at https://wyoparks.wyo.gov/index.php/rtp-grantinformation-.trails
Teton Canyon is a heavily used recreation destination for locals and visitors with its stunning beauty, trail access, and dispersed and developed camping opportunities. TVTAP collected trail counts from the nearby Sheep Bridge trail in 2018, which showed 76 visitors per day in this location. These numbers have certainly increased since 2018. More trail miles are needed. This additional .6 miles of new trail will provide recreational opportunities and help disperse trail users. This section of trail will be flat and wide and, therefore, a welcoming and more accessible trail. Teton Valley Community Recycling has agreed to donate two benches made of recycled materials which will be placed in appropriate spots for a rest or to take in a view. Upon completion, TVTAP will install a trail counter on this new trail and anticipates measuring significant use.
The Community Foundation grant will support TVTAP in constructing an elevated trail causeway made out of rock, dirt, and steel culvert. This will be the most durable and longest-lasting trail solution to negotiate the riparian area. The project will be completed by TVTAP staff with volunteer support. The project will take about a week to complete.
Materials will be dropped by dump truck at the mouth of Teton Canyon and ferried by a compact tracked loader and wheelbarrows to the project location. A mini-excavator will prep the project area for the culvert and causeway construction. The culvert will be installed, reinforced edges will be constructed with stacked rock, and geotextile fabric will harden wet areas. The next step will be the compaction of a durable subbase material and of pit run (rocks that are about fist-size). Lastly, the contractor will capped the causeway with crushed gravel, completing the remainder of the trail construction. The result will be a lasting, durable trail through the wet section. A contractor will complete the remaining .6 miles of the new trail. The US Forest Service will assume ongoing trail maintenance in partnership with TVTAP.
The Community Foundation commends the important work of Trails and Pathways to construct a durable trail causeway through a riparian area on the new Teton Creek Parallel trail and its partnerships with the US Forest Service, the Wyoming RTP grant program, and Teton Valley Community Recycling to complete this project.