$9,000 – Teton Creek Corridor Pathway
The Teton Creek Corridor Project was started in 2014 by four Teton Valley nonprofits to create a greenbelt trail corridor along Teton Creek that will provide public access, protect agricultural heritage, improve stream function, protect vital habitat, and improve existing developments by making them more compatible with community goals. The Community Foundation’s full funding of this grant during will help with construction of phase one of this long-awaited pathway.
The Teton Creek Corridor project grew out Teton Valley’s vision to jointly protect key elements of our character and environment while fostering economic growth. The speculative development boom of the early 2000’s started to degrade critical habitat and put many elements of the community’s character at risk of being permanently lost. Development occurred along the Teton Creek corridor, degrading the stream, eliminating wildlife habitat, and putting properties at risk of flooding. Friends of the Teton River, Teton Regional Land Trust, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development, and Teton Valley Trails and Pathways formed the Teton Creek Collaborative to proactively create a project that could enact the community’s vision for itself.
Since the creation of this collaborative, the pace of development has picked up in the community and many of the threats that first arose in the 2000’s are re-emerging. Specifically, this project balances residential development, recreation, and agriculture with the preservation/conservation of critical habitat. These elements have often been seen at odds with each other, and the Teton Valley community, while clearly articulating a need for balance in the comp plan, has struggled to implement projects that truly strike that balance. This project is building solutions to those threats and a model for how development can coexist with the natural elements that are so essential to Teton Valley. Our project has drawn heavily from the vision laid out in the Teton County Comprehensive Plan and other community planning documents including the Teton County Recreation Master Plan, Teton County and Driggs Pathway master plans, and the Teton County Economic Development Plan.
This collaborative effort between local Teton Valley nonprofits, government, and private citizens seeks to restore the natural functions of Teton Creek, protect critical wildlife habitat in and along the creek, reduce flooding risk to the City of Driggs, preserve the agricultural heritage along the corridor, improve recreational access along the corridor and to public lands via a pathway, and improve community development in the area. This grant will help fund the construction of the first phase of a nonmotorized pathway leading from Driggs past the old landfill site. Subsequent phases will connect the pathway out to Stateline Road and onto public land access points. This will be a seasonal pathway, closed to traffic during sensitive times for wildlife. This project has been active for four years and has protected over 350 acres of critical habitat, restored nearly a mile of degraded stream bed/bank, and eliminated building sites within the creek corridor. The pathway will give the public access to this work, creating a unique public amenity that can easily be accessed by the entire Teton Valley community and will eventually a secure transportation route to give nonmotorized access public lands from the City of Driggs. This grant will augment funding already secured from Idaho Parks and Recreation, private funds secured by the partners, and the significant body of work that has secured the access to this area over the past four years.