Afton, Wyo. – The Bridger-Teton National Forest and numerous local partners recently worked together to construct a new parking area, complete with a newly installed vault toilet, on the Smiths Fork Road in western Wyoming.
This popular winter and summer trailhead parking area is located just off of U.S. Highway 89 on Salt River Pass south of Afton. This project, in various iterations, has been in the works since 2006. Both the parking area and vault toilet come with agreements in place for continued maintenance.
This completed project is an important step in improving highway safety, parking capacity and sanitation. Traditionally, recreationists were forced to park on a limited-visibility corner along the side of U.S. Highway 89 where drivers were descending the pass. Previous parking options did not accommodate the large number of vehicles, particularly in winter when use often exceeded capacity. Snowmobilers were often forced to park elsewhere and ride on the highway edge or non-motorized winter ski trails to get to the motorized trail from the limited highway parking.
Partnership was a key component of this project. The Smokey Canyon Mine, JR Simplot Company, provided a D10 bulldozer and operator for more than two weeks to complete all of the earthwork associated with this project. Lincoln County provided numerous dump trucks and operators for three days of hauling road base for the new parking lot. Kevin Kilroy, Kilroy LLC., provided a substantial discount on road base to surface the parking lot and two miles of the Smith’s Fork Road. The Bridger-Teton National Forest funded the purchase and installation of a new precast concrete vault toilet, and provided a grader, water truck and roller with operators to spread and compact the road base on the parking lot and road. Lastly, the forest provided an application of magnesium chloride for the reconstructed section of road.
As for continued maintenance, Wyoming State Trails will maintain the approach and parking area, including winter snow removal and sanding. Star Valley Sno-Skippers, a local snowmobile club, will maintain and pump the new vault toilet.