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Alliance Calls For Public Participation

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The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance has redoubled its efforts to keep the Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Jackson. Now that the proposed Bridger-Teton/Caribou-Targhee merger has been nixed, Alliance officials say that same sort of collaborative effort that helped defeat that plan needs to be mounted to dissuade moving the Bridger-Teton Supervisor’s Office out of Jackson.  Former Regional Forester Harv Forsgren had championed the Supervisor’s Office move to Alpine citing high housing costs in Jackson. However, Alliance Wildlands Director Cory Hatch says there are many sound arguments against it.  He says A Forest Service report from January 2012 estimates that it would cost more than $2 million in extra construction costs to build offices in Alpine. Forest Service employees would need to make 1,100 additional trips, covering 81,000 miles, each year if the office were located in Alpine. Those additional trips put employees at greater risk of highway accidents and would cost taxpayers $132,851 a year while increasing the forest service’s carbon emissions by more than 14 percent.  Hatch says probably the best reason to keep the supervisor’s office in Jackson is the central location that has helped foster partnerships the forest has developed with agencies such as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the National Elk Refuge, and Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. In fact, he says Teton Interagency Fire which is a collaboration between the National Park and Forest, is often touted as a model for wildfire collaborations across the rest of the country.  Hatch says there has been a collaborative effort together with the Town of Jackson and Teton County to persuade the Forest to retain its office in Jackson, but members of the community are also encouraged to weigh in on the issue.

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