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Publisher’s Note for Feb. 13, 2013
Another dead Moose on Teton Village Road. We are literally killing the place we love. When I first came to the valley I viewed it as a sanctuary. Kind of a holy place. It felt like any development was sacrilege. Now that I’ve lived here for over 30 years I’ve seen jarringly massive development out in the county that’s been hard to digest. At the same time I’ve begun to feel a part of this place. Less like a visitor to a museum – more an integral part of the ecosystem.
I migrate a few times a week down the Village Road on my way to and from work. Frankly, I’ve been irked by the new 35 mph nighttime speed limit. Is the extra couple of minutes added to my commute really helping save the moose? The thousands of minutes of collectively wasted time as thousands of cars creep to and from Teton Village at 35 mph has a real economic and quality of life cost. Are the new speed limits saving wildlife, or are they simply another infuriating example of environmental tokenism? The burden of dubiously effective preventative measures usually falls hardest on working people.
The sad sight of yet another dead moose along the roadside begs the question of whether our over-cautious nighttime speed limits are just a feel good attempt to mask the real elephant in the room – the dramatic transformation of our rural county landscape by sprawling development, and the ensuing pressure on our roads. It’s obvious that friction between the human and wildlife residents of our valley will continue to grow. As we seek to find a balance let’s be honest with ourselves regarding the consequences – both intended and unintended – of our presence here and the choices we’ve made thus far.