Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood gave a rousing and energetic address as the keynote speaker for an America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) celebration event in Grand Teton National Park.
About 200 local officials, pathway users and park staff gathered on August 9th to recognize the selection of Grand Teton’s Phase II Pathway as a signature project that met the overarching goal of the AGO initiative, with its premise that lasting conservation solutions should rise from the American people and that protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective shared by all U.S. citizens.
Focusing on future generations, Secretary LaHood, who was on a family vacation to Grand Teton, brought his grandchildren up to the stage, a spontaneous gesture to emphasize the importance of protecting wild spaces for future generations. He applauded the many recreational opportunities offered by our national parks and encouraged all citizens to visit and experience our nation’s public lands and incomparable natural areas. Secretary LaHood also took time to recognize park staff for their daily contributions in protecting and preserving Grand Teton National Park.
“What we’re celebrating here is what all of you have done for the next generation,” LaHood said. “I don’t know of another place I’d rather be in America than right here, celebrating with you. You should be mighty proud.”
Jackson Mayor Mark Barron and Teton County commissioners Paul Vogelheim and Hank Phibbs took the stage to recognize the collaborative local efforts to connect Grand Teton’s pathways to the town of Jackson. The Phase II Pathway parallels North Highway 89 and connects Moose Junction in Grand Teton to the town of Jackson. This section of pathway was completed and opened to the public in June 2012.
Including pathways in Grand Teton, Teton County, Wyoming now has a total of 55.8 miles of multi-use pathways. The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized the pathway network and drew attention to Grand Teton by naming Jackson Hole one of 16 ‘gold level’ bicycle-friendly communities in the country.
The celebration of the Phase II Pathway in Grand Teton National Park brought the larger AGO vision to Jackson Hole and hailed the collective local efforts toward alternative transportation projects in the park and neighboring federal and county lands.
The AGO initiative was launched in 2010 to develop a 21st century approach to conservation with a recreation emphasis, and the Secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture, with support from other federal managers—including Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood—took the lead in developing a broad outreach program to honor our unparalleled American legacy of preserving natural and cultural resources and providing for the enjoyment of those resources by this and future generations.