March 6, 2014
To: Dan Shaeffer, Chairman Local Highway Technical Assistance Council
& LRHIP Grant Program Decisions Committee
Subject: Teton Pass Centennial Trail- Idaho Section, Victor Idaho Grant Proposal
Dear Chairman and Committee Members,
The State of Idaho has already seen the tremendous economic impacts of rail trail and pathway investments. We need only to look at the success of the Hiawatha Trail and Trails of the Coeur d’Alenes. The larger vision into which this Idaho section of the Centennial Trail fits is a 150 mile pathway from Grand Teton National Park all the way to West Yellowstone; a trail that would largely sit within Idaho and be instantly recognized as a marque destination trail. A project of this scope cannot be achieved without small steps being supported, and this is the next step in the process which has already begun.
The Teton Pass Centennial Trail – Idaho Section project will have a significant positive impact on the community, both economically and with access to federal lands. Your support for this application will have a critical impact on the ability of the City of Victor to access $1.7 Million dollars awarded to the City from the Federal Land Access Program in the fall of 2013.
The Teton Pass Centennial Trail – Idaho Section project builds on the vision of completing a pathway over Teton Pass to link the communities on the Idaho and Wyoming sides of the pass. The result of which would greatly increase the ability of Teton County, Idaho to tap into the massive economic reserves of Jackson Hole and the four million annual visitors to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks. Both communities have significant existing pathway systems. Previous Federal Land Highway investments completed pathway sections in Victor, Idaho & Wilson, Wyoming in 2004, connecting those communities to the U.S. forest lands.
Speaking to the local influence such a section would achieve, pathway projects are already playing a major role in rural economic development through increased tourism, increased property values, and increased commerce to businesses near pathways. In recognition of that fact, the Teton County, Wyoming Commissioners have recently approved applying for federal grants that would help complete the Centennial Trail from the Idaho/Wyoming border to the top of Teton Pass.
Within Teton County, Idaho our elected officials have also worked cooperatively to see this project through, and the Board of County Commissioners recently voted unanimously to approve $8,000+ in matching funds for this LRHIP grant. The community is also supporting the project with $1,000 in private funding and $2,000 in Foundation grant money to support the project.
As a rural community it is rare that we have access to such large funds, and the City of Victor has worked very hard to receive this fund to build infrastructure that will enhance the community and increase the economic vitality of the region.
We thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for carefully considering the immense value of this project to our community.
We thank you for your support of this application to assure that the City of Victor and our surrounding communities do not lose out on this great $1.7M grant opportunity and regional asset.