Spackmans Bring New Beacon Park to R Park

R Park is now home to a new community resource for backcountry snow safety thanks to the heartfelt generosity and adventurous spirit of the Spackman Family. The avalanche beacon training park features Backcountry Access’s wireless beacon training system and is now open for public use.

The Spackman Family are no strangers to the risks of backcountry sports. They generously sponsored R Park’s new beacon park through the Jarad Spackman Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole in memory of Jarad Spackman, who died in an avalanche in Grand Teton National Park in 2013. At the time of his passing, Jarad was on the Board of Directors for the Jackson Hole Land Trust and was passionate about the conservation of Jackson Hole’s open spaces. Jarad’s wife, Stephanie, his mother, Susie, and his brother, Brandon, are excited and honored to fund this community resource which will help others manage the inherent risks of backcountry travel, while still bravely pursuing what they love, as Jarad did. As Jarad once said, “Taking risks allows you to evolve. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you just might learn something about yourself that empowers you. Taking a risk might damage your ego, but it sure beats having regret over lost experiences.”

The beacon park will be open and operational throughout the winter as long as the weather allows. The beacon park is an addition to the Spackman Memorial near the East Pond Crossing at R Park. The Spackman Family has long had a special connection to R Park and a deep connection to conservation in Jackson Hole.

Backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling are becoming increasingly popular activities, making it critical that everyone who ventures out wears a beacon and knows how to assess and respond to the very real risk of avalanches. “As more people will venture into the backcountry due COVID-19 and usage limits at skiing resorts, we are ecstatic the Spackman Family underwrote this timely community asset,” said Jr Rodriguez, community conservation manager/R Park director. “We are hopeful that this beacon park will allow users to hone their transceiver skills without the need to buy a ski pass to access other beacon parks in the valley, all while enjoying the benefits of local conservation.”

“We feel very fortunate as a family to support this endeavor. It is so important for our community to have easily accessible educational tools and programs available for backcountry safety,” said Stephanie Spackman. “We hope this resource will be utilized, along with the many other tools offered in our community, to further support safe travel and a love for adventure in these mountains we are fortunate to call home.”

The beacon park features a Backcountry Access (BCA) wireless beacon training park with one control box and eight transmitters. Users will be able to efficiently practice single burial searches, multiple burial searches, probing, shoveling, and use of RECCO detectors. Each of the eight targets is equipped with an accelerometer so the control box will sound an alarm confirming each successful probe strike upon locating the beacon.

“Having a resource like this at R Park will allow for more people to get the practice they need. It is imperative that all backcountry users, novices, and professionals alike, practice their avalanche rescue skills every season. Regular practice will increase the likelihood of successful partner rescue in the event things take a turn for the worse,” said Liz King, Preventative Search & Rescue Manager for TCSR Foundation.

“As avid skiers ourselves and R Park being located at the halfway point between Teton Pass, Teton Village, and town, R Park has is an ideal place to host a beacon park,” said Ellie Stratton-Brook, R Park community outreach coordinator. “We’re excited for future collaboration opportunities with Backcountry Zero and Teton County Search & Rescue to add supplemental training to the beacon park that focuses on proper avalanche rescue training. We also encourage users to enroll in Avalanche courses in addition to utilizing the Beacon Park for practice.”

R Park is located at the intersection of Highway 22 and the Teton-Village Road (4270 River Springs Drive, Wilson). Participants are encouraged to use alternative forms of transportation to visit, such as START Bus or the community pathways.

736 Acres Protected in the Upper Green

The Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) announced today that 736 acres in the Upper Green River Valley have been protected through a new conservation easement on the Bar Bar E Ranch, now held by the JHLT’s Green River Valley Program.

Protected in perpetuity on December 29, 2020, Bar Bar E Ranch II is contiguous to 873 acres that the landowners placed under a conservation easement in 2007. The additional acreage conserved will safeguard historic working lands and open space and support valuable big game and aquatic habitat.

The family of Bar Bar E Ranch has deep roots in the community of the Upper Green. The conservation property is part of a Wyoming Centennial Ranch, an honor reserved for families who have owned and operated their land for more than 100 years. They are also a founding family of the Upper Green River Cattle Association that move their herd along the Green River Drift, one of the oldest and longest cattle drives in the country. The new conservation easement ensures that the land will support continued agricultural use, including grazing and hay production, which in turn will help the culture and tradition of ranching continue to thrive in Sublette County.

“We are thrilled to partner once again with the family of Bar Bar E Ranch,” said JHLT Director of Conservation Liz Long. “It is incredible to see the result of careful stewardship on this now-historic homestead over three generations of living and working on the land. The Green River Valley Program of the JHLT is proud to play a role in ensuring the ranch will be a boon to the community and Wyoming wildlife for generations to come.”

The New Fork River and Willow Creek flow through the property, creating lush, resource-rich areas critical to sustaining resilient wildlife populations across the arid, sagebrush-dominated landscape that covers much of Sublette County. The property’s diverse topography, vibrant riparian areas and wetlands, and connectivity to vast swaths of adjacent open lands provide important resources for Wyoming’s native migratory big game species and is used by both pronghorn and moose on their seasonal migrations. Bar Bar E Ranch II supports native species of raptors and waterfowl and lies entirely within the Daniel Sage-Grouse Core Area, with multiple active leks nearby. Protection of Bar Bar E Ranch II ensures continuity between the Wind River Mountains, Willow and New Fork Lakes, and the New Fork River.

Funding from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and an anonymous donor through The Conservation Fund helped secure the Bar Bar E Ranch II conservation easement. In addition to the public funding, the landowners generously donated a portion of the easement’s value.

“The Conservation Fund is pleased to have secured and contributed funds that assist the landowning family, the JHLT, and our federal and state funding partners to complete this easement,” said Dan Schlager, The Conservation Fund’s Wyoming state director. “This effort will honor the agricultural traditions of Sublette County and protect its unique and vibrant wildlife resources, both essential components of Wyoming’s economy.”