New Bates Access Improves Safety and Site for the Public
Teton County and Idaho Department of Fish and Game are currently redeveloping the Teton River public access on Bates Road. This property was acquired with the goal of preserving public river access and improving public safety. Teton County is working in partnership with Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), Idaho Parks and Recreation (IDPR), local nonprofits and business partners to accomplish these goals.
There will be a new boat ramp, parking area, and restroom facilities coming to the Bates Road Teton River access. The improved access point will address public safety by moving all of the facilities to the north side of Bates Road. After completion, the existing parking on the south side will be closed and revegetated. This project will replace the existing parking area in a much safer configuration, with a turn-around and pull-through boat trailer parking. This project will not increase the existing parking capacity at the site.
WorldCast Anglers owner and local fishing guide Mike Dawes helped give input for the new design and stated that safety has been the driving force behind this move: “The previous parking configuration was just too unsafe. To get from the parking area to the boat ramp, river users — including families with young children — were forced to cross over the Buxton Bridge, a high-speed area with limited visibility. It was an accident waiting to happen and we’re really happy with the new design. The new ramp will be an easier put in and take out and will give the local community a safer way to access the river.”
Who paid for the property acquisition?
The 80-acre property acquisition was made possible through a variety of sources, including fundraising by local nonprofits, generous private donations, state grants, and county funding to keep this access point available for public use.
Who is paying for the new access?
The first phase of this project is intended to replace the existing access and parking capacity with a safer, more user friendly alternative. Construction of this access point is being generously funded by IDFG and IDPR while Teton County is providing labor and materials. IDFG will continue to manage the access point.
What will be improved from the old access?
The new site will address the significant safety concerns of the old access by locating the access ramp and the parking to the same side of the road, creating an intersection with better visibility for oncoming traffic, and creating increased separation between the user access and Bates Road. The new parking area and restrooms will be out of the floodplain and will avoid the annual spring flooding that inundated the old site. The parking area will have the same number of parking spaces as the old site, but will be configured to improve traffic flow and trailer parking, as well as a wider boat ramp that will accommodate multiple vehicles and/or boats.
Are there plans to develop a park at the site?
Teton County has secured a grant from IDPR to develop a low impact trail along the river, but there are no plans to develop a park at the site. The property was purchased for day use only public river access. A conservation easement also restricts development on over half of the property, protecting river and wetland resources. Working within these parameters, Teton County and the public will ultimately decide how the site is used moving forward.
When will the new access be ready?
Teton County and construction contractors expect the new access to be ready in June 2018. That said, weather and water levels on the Teton River will determine the exact construction timeline. Construction timeline updates will be provided by Teton County.
Will access to the river be closed at the existing Bates site during construction?
During construction, a temporary access is open at the old access site on river left, on the south side of Bates Road. All closures will be posted on the Teton County website: tetoncountyidaho.gov and the Teton County Facebook page: www.facebook.com/tetoncountyidaho.
What will happen to the old site once construction is complete?
Once the new site is completed, the existing site will be decommissioned and reclaimed. Project partners will work to restore natural habitat and vegetation to the site.
Where can I get more information on this project?
For more information, please check with the Teton County website or contact the County Commissioners office at 208-354-8775.