Alliance honors locals for 35th anniversary

By on September 19, 2014





Jackson Hole, Wyoming — It’s a little scary to envision what Jackson Hole might look like if it weren’t for the watchdog efforts of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.

C’mon kids, the line for the Elk Refuge waterslide is probably to the airport by now!

Well I was planning to run up Josie’s Ridge but I’m worried about rush hour traffic.

Thwarting plans for water slides on the refuge and a highway on Josie’s Ridge are just the tip of the iceberg. The Alliance also helped extinguish proposals for a shopping mall in Kelly, the arrival of everyone’s favorite corporate mogul: Wal-Mart, an oil development on Bridger-Teton National Forest and a dam on the Snake River that, by the way, would have flooded Oxbow Bend.

This year, to celebrate the Alliance’s 35th anniversary, instead of highlighting these and its other efforts to protect wildlife and preserve community character, the nonprofit is championing the work of local people effecting change in unique ways. People like artist Ben Roth. His work incites meaningful dialogue about our connection to nature. “I try to raise awareness through my art and I try to live a low impact life,” Roth said. “My recent public art piece, the ski bridge, built at the eco-fair, was made completely from recycled materials, (except screws).”

Then there are people like writer and former National Forest employee Susan Marsh and retired teacher and ranger, Vance Carruth; folks who noticed something awry in their surroundings and tasked themselves with finding a solution. Marsh, for example, can often be found removing copious amounts of dog doodie and debris from area trails. Carruth has been working for the past five years to develop a safe wildlife crossings system for the highways and roads throughout the valley. Others, like Stephanie Thomas and Ali Dunford, are shining through their work with area nonprofits. Thomas has volunteered with Teton County Search and Rescue since 2007. She is now executive director of TCSAR foundation. Dunford, featured last week in The Planet, founded Hole Food Rescue, a nonprofit that salvages food from grocery stores, bakeries and farms and delivers it to mouths at the Senior Center, Community Safety Network and Jackson Cupboard, just to name a few.

Ranging in age from their 20s to their 80s, the pool of honorees exemplifies ordinary folks who view their roles as Jackson Hole citizens in a serious way, explained Craig Benjamin, executive director of the Alliance. “They are not an all-star team of the valley’s greatest conservationists, though some may deserve a place on this team,” he said. “They are people whose everyday actions, whether large or small, are contributing to a better future.”

After garnering 100 nominations from locals, folks at the Alliance narrowed it down to 12 people. These winners will be featured in a short film produced by Jackson Adventure Video during a free party Sunday at Center for the Arts. A swanky benefit gala for the Alliance happens before the party.

“Since our conservation legacy includes the contributions of many people acting individually and collectively to strengthen the roots of our community, it only made sense to highlight the people who, through their individual actions, have created a better future for Jackson Hole,” Benjamin said.

About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Planet Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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