Photo by Chris Figenshaw
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is known for its lavish ski resorts, western flare and tons of snow. But this little town is defying the stereotypes that come along with being a tourist hot spot. Locals work tirelessly to keep their business’ environmental footprint tiny, preserving the area’s natural beauty and resources.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, or JHMR, recycled over 120 tons of garbage in 2015. The resort recycles fluorescent bulbs, computers, and paper, while purchasing products that are least 15% recycled. JHMR buildings feature water bottle fill stations, which has reduced yearly plastic waste by 2.5 tons a year.
JHMR, the area’s largest energy consuming attraction, has been converting to renewable energy sources since 2007. “This will save up to 4,384,760 lbs. of CO2 each year. The renewable energy product purchased from Renewable Choice Energy, is made up of a combination of Wind, Biomass, Small Hydro and Geothermal energy.” Biodiesel fuel and energy efficient snowmobiles are used as well.
Photo by Karyn Wofford
Jackson Hole restaurants have largely local menus, sourcing much of their meat and produce from farms in the area. JHMR donated $25,000 to the innovative 13,500 square foot greenhouse, Vertical Harvest, in downtown Jackson Hole. The greenhouse uses 90% less water than traditional farming, and only competes with large distributors, not local farmers.
Q Roadhouse and Brewing’s menu is built around local produce, such as the Local Greens Salad served with huidekoper shoots, blood orange segments, pears, hazelnuts and an incredible buttermilk-maple vinaigrette. House made beer, along with a vast selection of local brews from other companies are part of the allure. Chef Matty Melehes works to create innovative dishes that are sourced from the Jackson Hole area. The Handle Bar’s Winter Burrata Salad with Vertical Harvest greens, their cocktails with locally sourced ingredients and “at your table” s ‘mores with homemade marshmallows further epitomize the commitment to local food that helps make Jackson Hole the ultimate eco-tourism destination.
The Alpine House, a Sustainable Travel International Eco-Certified lodge in downtown Jackson, locally sources ingredients for their outstanding, well-known breakfasts, which are included with your stay. Seasonal, organic food along with vegetables from their onsite garden are a part of the Alpine House experience. Homemade granola and wild blueberry French toast can be enjoyed, as well as craft beer and organic wine in the lodge’s Viking Bar. The cozy lodge also uses wind power to offset 100% of its electrical use, making it green as well as homey.
Photo by Josh Metten, EcoTour Adventures
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance protects wildlife and landscape through empowering the community to leave the earth better than they found it. It’s an educational effort that the entire community seems to comply with.
The National Elk Refuge, a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, was established in the early 1900’s after development of the area began to threaten elk. The refuge offers safe-haven and habitat for migrating elk in the winter, a difficult time for survival. In 1970’s the refuge began offering educational, horse drawn sleigh rides through the massive herds in the valley of the Tetons. Elk cannot detect humans in the sleighs, so therefore they are not disturbed, preventing unnecessary use of precious winter fat reserves.
EcoTour Adventures takes guests into the wilderness of the Tetons by bio-diesel vehicles that provide a window seat to every guest, in addition to roof top hatches for safe, yet spectacular viewing. Tour guides, like Josh Metten and founder Taylor Phillips have extensive education and talk about everything from the bald eagles, elk, wolves and antelope you may see, to current environmental issues. Local snacks and coffee served during the excursion are the icing on the cake.
Photo by Josh Metten, EcoTour Adventures
Snow King Mountain, another ski spot in Jackson hole, is a partner of the Doug Coombs Foundation. The foundation enables kids, who normally couldn’t afford the expensive activity, to join in on the fun. This creates a ripple effect in the lives of these kids, opening doors for a brighter future. In summer months, soccer, hiking and other outdoor activities are made available.
Snow King Mountain sits adjacent to JHMR and offers reasonably priced fun for those of us who never planted a money tree. The Cowboy Coaster is a gravity driven coaster that zips you down a mile-long track, making it one of the coolest ways to experience the Tetons year-round. Snow tubing is another unique Snow King activity that engages a wider range of people, especially those who may not want to ski. Snow King is much closer to the downtown area than JHMR, and can be accessed by a complimentary bike from The Alpine House.
Karyn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.