Our community and region have a significant history of stewardship beginning with the creation of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park, in 1872. This achievement was followed by the establishment of the Caribou-Targhee and Bridger-Teton National Forests, the National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton National Park, Wild & Scenic River status for the Snake River and protection of much of the Wyoming Range, including the recent buyout of gas exploration leases.
Over 140 years after this beginning, our profound history of stewardship continues with Teton County being recognized for its commitment to sustainability by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC selected Teton County, Wyoming (i.e., Jackson Hole) in 2012 as one of only six destinations worldwide to participate in the GSTC Early Adopters Program. The conclusion in the GSTC report was that “Teton County more than any other place in the world has the potential to become a leader as a sustainable destination” and that we have the natural capital, human capacity, and financial resources to realize this potential.
Five years later, Jackson Hole was chosen for the second consecutive year as one of the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations of the world.
Also in 2017, National Geographic selected Jackson Hole and the Riverwind Foundation’s Jackson Hole & Yellowstone Sustainable Destination Program as one of three Destination Leadership Finalists for the World Legacy Awards. Over 100 applicants from 45 countries and six continents vied for the travel and tourism industry’s most prestigious award.
If you would like a fun snippet of our Program, please check us out on Youtube!
The United Nations World Tourism Organization has stated that “The buildup of consumer’s socio-environmental awareness of tourism development is leading to increased scrutiny on the part of the public in destination decision-making and a growing requirement for new tourism developments to be sustainable.” In fact, the United Nations World Assembly has declared 2017 as the Year for Sustainable Tourism Development.
The Center for Responsible Travel has compiled the latest research and data on sustainable travel and trends, including the following:
- A 2013 TripAdvisor.com survey of 1,300 U.S. travelers shows that nearly two‐thirds “often” or “always” consider the environment when choosing hotels, transportation and meals
- 95% of business travelers surveyed believe that the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives and that sustainability will become a defining issue for the hospitality industry in 2015 and beyond, according to Deloitte’s Hospitality 2015 report
- 72% of meeting planners say they have “green” policies in place for at least some of their meetings, and 19% say they have such policies for all meetings, according to a 2013 survey of Successful Meetings readers. In addition, 73% of planners say sustainable policies and procedures have some or a great deal of influence on the hotel they choose
The use of the term Sustainable in this Plan is based on the following definitions of sustainability:
“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” – 1987 UN Bruntland Report
“A system of practices that are healthy for the environment, community and economy and can be maintained for current and future generations.” – Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Plan