Block Construction Builds Toward New Greenspace

The Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) is thrilled to announce that the Greenspace on the Block will open to the public later this summer following the community-powered campaign to “Save the Block” in the summer of 2019. Though Block businesses are open, construction is well underway and the greenspace is fenced and currently inaccessible. Once completed, the Greenspace on the Block will be a place for friends and neighbors to gather that offers connection to open space in the heart of town and a glimpse into Jackson’s past.

Work at the Greenspace on the Block resumed in April. Guided by the vision of Hershberger Design, Wyoming Landscape Maintenance is set to complete hardscaping by early summer with landscaping to follow. The completed service drive provides much-needed infrastructure to Block businesses that is cohesive with the overall design for the space. Graded walking trails and interpretive signage will invite visitors into the new community conservation property. Age and ability-friendly benches crafted by local designers Hise Sikora and Prospect Studio will offer opportunities for conversation with friends or quiet reflection.

Bruun Boulevard is currently closed for Town of Jackson infrastructure updates that will provide a seasonal flow of water through the Greenspace on the Block each year. The JHLT received a generous grant from Teton Conservation District that will put Cache Creek at the fore of this landscape. Nearly all of this stream is piped underground beneath the streets of Jackson. The Greenspace on the Block will provide an important view of what was once a flourishing waterway and invite reflection on the future of conservation and resource stewardship in the valley.

“We are thrilled to see the community’s vision for the Greenspace on the Block begin to take shape,” reflected JHLT Vice President Liz Long. “We are grateful to the anonymous family that carried this project, our local business and nonprofit partners that call the block home, and to each and every community member that made the Greenspace on the Block a reality. Once completed, it will provide a space for the community to come back together after a year of isolation. We look forward to celebrating this successful project with the Jackson community.”

With a groundswell of local support over a four-month window in the summer of 2019, the JHLT led a fundraising campaign that raised more than $7 million from 2,500 community members. On August 16, 2019, the JHLT successfully recorded an easement on a portion of the Genevieve Block that will protect its community greenspace and historic character forever. The JHLT is raising the final funding necessary to complete construction and bring the community’s vision to fruition with the opening of the Greenspace on the Block.

While landscaping timelines may preclude a full community gathering this year, the JHLT is looking to 2022 to host an all-out celebration. Once construction is complete, however, all are welcome at the Greenspace on the Block!

Meet our Seasonal Stewardship Team

Each spring, the JHLT welcomes stewardship associates to the team. They spend the summer months working in the field with fellow staff and landowners to sustain and enhance the conservation values of easements across Northwest Wyoming. Meet this year’s stewardship associates, Zach Andres and Jackson Ray!

Jackson Ray

Jackson grew up in Portland, OR where he loved to explore the forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. His passion for the outdoors led him to study Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration at Cal Poly. Upon graduation, Jackson spent some time working at an adventure travel company. This experience made him want to go back to school to study conservation and environmental education. He attended the graduate programs of the Teton Science Schools, and then completed his Masters at the University of Wyoming. After getting his Masters he conducted field research in New Mexico and has since moved back to Jackson, WY. He enjoys skiing, playing drums, and spending time in the mountains.

Zach Andres

Born in Texas and raised in Sheridan, Wyoming, Zach moved to Jackson three years ago. Zach spent his childhood watching grouse leks on the open landscapes of northern Wyoming and ever since has been inspired to understand natural processes and conserve wild landscapes and wildlife. Zach graduated from the University of Denver in 2015 with a B.A. in Geography. After working in the fly fishing industry for several years, he is now pursuing a career in conservation and wildlife biology. He has been fortunate to work on numerous wildlife projects, including research on mule deer migration, wolf-prey dynamics, moose mortality, and microplastics. Zach has a fondness for photography, fly fishing, grouse, hummingbirds, and thick-cut bacon.

Landowner Spotlight: The Morris Family and Camp GROW

Late in the fall of 1976, Dee Morris and Kay Hawkins drove from Big Piney and Jackson Hole, respectively, to meet for their first date at the Corral Bar in Pinedale. Thirty-four years later, the two returned to Sublette County and purchased the Mountain Springs Ranch. The property’s rolling glacial moraines and sprawling sagebrush steppe merge into the mixed forests of the adjacent Scab Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA), a wary name for a stunning and remote landscape. The Morris’ ranch is a haven for wildlife, notably mule deer and sage-grouse, although other characters like black bears and a few stubborn moose occasionally amble through. Inspired by the conservation standards of the neighboring WSA, Kay and Dee partnered with the Green River Valley Land Trust, and later the Green River Valley Program of the Jackson Hole Land Trust, to protect more than 550 acres of their ranch. With those conservation easements, the Morrises ensure that critical wildlife habitat and working lands persist for future generations.

In 2017, with invasive plants on the rise and cheatgrass creeping in, the Morrises joined with their local National Resource Conservation Service and Sublette County Weed and Pest offices to steward the ecological integrity of their property. The Sage Grouse Initiative provided funding for prescribed aerial treatments that by 2020 had achieved an impressive 90% efficacy on all test plots. Their pilot project is now a successful collaborative model for other ranches.

From the belief that the future of wild places and open spaces depend on today’s youth, Kay and Dee helped establish Camp GROW (Green River Outreach for Wilderness) in 2009. Nearly a decade later the next generation of Morrises, Wesley and Natasha, have stepped into management roles. For the new directors, wilderness experiences and outdoor adventures are vital for kids learning to balance and navigate the tangible and virtual worlds in an increasingly digital age.

At Camp GROW, kids and young adults learn conservation ethics and develop outdoor skillsets through catch-and-release fishing, horseback riding, and Leave No Trace principles. Campers also discover the cultural past and learn about the region’s earliest inhabitants. For more information on 2021 programming and camp dates, please visit www.greenriveroutreach.com.