PROPS & DISSES for June 11
Kowtowing in cowtown DISS
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – This is Chinese to me. Maybe Bruce Simon can explain it better. The Jackson Hole real estate agent created a popup welcome center catering to Mandarin-speaking Chinese visitors to Jackson Hole.
The biggest thing wrong with the notion that the People’s Republic of China should get a dedicated sightseer shack plopped right there at Glenwood and Mercill is that it’s the first step in a slippery slope tumble to altering the valley to fit the visitor.
The Chinese come here to see the American West, not Shanghai. The same goes for Italians, Japanese, and, yes, even Texans. We are just one major forest fire from making a Beijing citizen feel like they are in their hometown, but we needn’t change Jackson Hole to suit international tourists.
What’s next? More Chinese restaurants, dual-immersion Mandarin classes, a Ming-Na museum and gallery, replacing our griz population with panda bears? Before we program our ATMs to spit out yuan on exchange, let’s get a grip. Second-home Californians have already turned the valley into Orange County. We will ultimately be cherished for our fierce and rugged independence.
I’m not saying the Chinese should only be invited to the West to build our railroads and wash our clothes. I’m not proposing to build a second Great Wall of China. We just don’t need to rewrite Jackson stop signs in Cantonese or swap apple pie for fortune cookies no matter how many Chinese might come here to buy ice cream and real estate. And we already have a Ming Dynasty. It’s called eight years under Mayor Barron’s reign.
Ancient Chinese secret: The Chinese aren’t visiting for our egg rolls. Give ‘em rodeo, Bar J Chuckwagon, and a whitewater trip down the Snake – all in English –and they’ll go home happy.
Stupidity danger today: Extreme DISS
Before the Teton Interagency Fire website is even up and running for the season, before firefighters from the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Sublette County have even held their first training of 2014, and even while the biggest threat in both the park and forest remains avalanche, some ding dong lit Shadow Mountain on fire.
It’s going to be another challenging fire season (we dodged a bullet last year) and the last thing hotshots need is collegiate whiz kids with negligible outdoor survival skills using our national forests as a Holiday Inn. Sure, housing is tough to pin down here in Shangri-La but it doesn’t have to mean renter/campers shut out by a tight housing market should be allowed to squat on public grounds and recklessly blaze campgrounds with nothing more than warm PBRs to put it out with.
B-T personnel in the Shadow Mountain area noted no less than 43 unextinguished campfires last season. These are not the work of recreational campers, here on vacation with their 2.1 kids and requisite maltese. RVers camp strictly in close proximity to toilets. People who start fires around Shadow Mountain are either partying high schoolers, partying hippies who act like they’re still in high school, and the 90-day wonders living in a two-man Coleman tent they bought yesterday at Sports Authority.
There’s an easy solution for the B-T. Reduce and actually enforce the 16-day max for camping during the summer months of June, July, and August. This will keep popular areas like Curtis Canyon and Shadow Mountain from turning into late-night communes, prone to sparking the Hole’s next nightmare. By fall, B-T can put the max back at 16 days for the camo crowd.
Digging up bones PROP
Congratulations to the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum. Its Mercill Archaeology Center received a $10,350 shot-in-the-arm from online donors at Indiegogo.
Jackson native Matt Stirn and his fiancé Rebecca Sgouros hope to open the informative center this summer in the Coey Cabin on West Mercill Avenue. The center will offer interactive displays showing how early humans eked out an existence in Jackson Hole before a town public works department and WyDot snowplows.
Stirn and Sgouros will staff the center with high school interns. Outside funding was also secured through grants and the cooperation of the Teton Literacy Center, the Center of Wonder and the Eastern Shoshone.