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Post-Eclipse Report

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

Prepared By Contact: Kathryn Brackenridge, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Special Event Coordinator contracted by Town of Jackson and Teton County

Phone: 307-264-5932

Email: info@tetoneclipse.com

For Immediate Release

Teton Eclipse Reports Smooth August Operations During Celebrated Celestial Event

Jackson, WY, October 12, 2017 – Weeks after an extraordinary, August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse event, the Town of Jackson and Teton County continually collect and  report data supporting the successful achievement of joint-effort objectives to deliver a positive, organized operation for a safe and fun known celestial event.

 

After-action data and metrics collected in collaboration with community and key agency partners indicates increased visitation levels and demand across all categories with no major incidents. As anticipated, the Town, County and especially surrounding public lands, experienced significant growth in population volume and activities directly connected to the August 21 Eclipse. Preparation, planning, collaboration and favorable weather all proved contributing factors in meeting goals of streamlined government service and function for a positive phenomenon better enjoyed by all in the dates surrounding the national August 21 Total Solar Eclipse.

 

Temporarily and collaboratively operating under the umbrella of an effort known as Teton Eclipse, Town and County leaders, along with a contracted special event eclipse coordinator, worked closely with stakeholders and partner agencies to prepare, execute, and recently, evaluate. Key takeaways from incident management findings highlight:

 

Teton County & Town of Jackson joint effort resoundingly reports meeting of eclipse objectives. Emergency managers from law enforcement, Fire/EMS ,public health, and dozens of government operations worked with local agencies to deliver a safe event. On eclipse day, local law enforcement conducted unprecedented traffic direction for over four hours, doubly surpassing past annual average time dedicated to easing congestion during busiest periods like the 4th of July. Dispatch reported an uptick in call volume including, most notably, a 600% increase in illegal camping calls for service in year-over-year per data collected 8/17/17-8/22/17.

 

Bridger Teton National-Forest reported the busiest day in the forest in 20 years in a September 5 Observations and Use record accounting for 32,980 contacts (not including the Pinedale area) established from August 17 – August 27. Officials estimate 30,000-40,000 people experienced the eclipse in the Bridger Teton National Forest.

 

Grand Teton National Park saw record visitation August 18-21. Park traffic data collection indicates that compared to the same days in 2015 and 2016, the park saw an approximate 40 percent increase of park visits. Additionally, park officials report for the first time in park history, all backcountry permits were issued for the three  straight days leading to the eclipse. Instrumental coordination between partners at Bridger-Teton National Forest helped provide overnight camping options for overflow visitors near the park boundary. GTNP spokespersons report in a August 25, 2017 release ‘The entire weekend and day of the eclipse shattered sales records, including last year’s National Park Service Centennial Records.’

 

Jackson Hole Airport shared a business aviation flight activity report citing Jackson Hole coming in at number four in the top five totality airports for arrivals on August 21, 2017 due to a 70% gain in flight activity on eclipse day.

 

National Elk Refuge (US Fish & Wildlife Service) reported 8,859 visitors at the Jackson Hole Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center in the five-day period from August 17-21, roughly a 30% increase over the same dates from the previous two years. Approximately 300 visitors viewed the eclipse from the Visitor Center lawn and 100 from the Refuge’s historic Miller House on the Refuge Road. Refuge staff made over 900 contacts on the Refuge Road, sharing information and answering questions during the same five-day period.

 

Teton Village incident managers, including public information officers with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, reported record-topping numbers over eclipse weekend and smooth operations hosting over 800 ticketed tram riders atop Rendezvous Peak and hundreds of guests atop Bridger Gondola and Sweetwater privately accessed locations.

 

Teton Eclipse notes additional anecdotes and data points shared by stakeholders highlighting increased demand (or lack thereof) as indicators of eclipse impact including:

  • Count data snapshots of pathway use over the eclipse period records a 228% increase in users on North 89 (both pedestrian and cyclists) on August 21 in comparison to the average summer weekday.
  • The Wyoming Department of Transportation reports overall state-wide traffic increased by more than 556,000 vehicles (almost 68%) during the Monday, August 21 solar eclipse compared to the five-year average for the third Monday in August. Counties at the confluence of interstates saw the largest uptick of eclipse-day traffic. WYDOT reports a 148% increase in traffic at US 189/191 Teton National Park with 3,169 more vehicles.
  • Yellowstone National Park reported the ‘busiest August on record’ in a September 12 2017 release recording 916,166 visits in August 2017 yielding a 8.93% increase from 841,036 visits in August 2016. Yellowstone’s Office of Strategic Communications reports, ’This year, the park experienced increased visitation during the days immediately surrounding the solar eclipse that occurred on August 21. An especially large number of visits occurred on August 22.Traffic congestion that day caused the park to briefly limit access to the Old Faithful and West Thumb Geyser Basin parking areas as well as to send rangers to manage traffic at Madison Junction.’
  • The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, operating two service centers including the Home Ranch Welcome Center and Chamber Administrative Offices on Broadway – saw 9,203 and 2,300 visitors at the respective locations.
  • No eye injuries were reported by St. John’s Medical Center and emergency responders believe shared public education efforts for safe solar viewing was a huge success.

 

Teton County and the Town of Jackson’s Teton Eclipse planning effort and its adopted ‘whole community’ approach in event coordination produced a safe several days of overall seamless government service and operations. Thanks to significant contributions and cooperation from non-profits, businesses and individuals, managers conducted a successful full-scale exercise. Anticipating added demands of a known, naturally occurring event with a shared effort of situation analysis and coordination, coupled with ideal weather conditions over prized landscape, proved the catalyst for experiencing a rare celestial phenomenon of positive community record on August 21, 2017.

 

 

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Billy Kirk

Public Information Specialist

Teton County on behalf of Teton Eclipse & Kathryn Brackenridge

wkirk@tetonwyo.org

307.732.5786 (o)

307.264.9102 (c)

www.tetonwyo.org