How to SAFELY view the eclipse

You MUST use a pair of eclipse glasses if viewing with the naked eye OR a solar filter if viewing through telescopes, cameras, binoculars and other optical devices. SUNGLASSES ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE.

 
  • Failure to use proper eye protection will result in permanent eye damage or blindness. Buy your very own Teton Totality eclipse glasses here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  • For more information: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

Links and Articles

REGIONAL

​Teton Valley Eclipse Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/tetonvalleyeclipse
Teton Valley, ID web application - TetonPath.com
Teton Regional Economic Coalition website - http://www.discovertetonvalley.com/home
Upper Snake River Valley, ID Eclipse - http://www.uppervalleyeclipse.org/
Grand Targhee Resort's Eclipse - http://www.grandtarghee.com/solar-eclipse-2017/
Jackson Hole (Mountain Resort, Teton Village), WY's Eclipse - https://www.jacksonhole.com/x/ECLIPSE-2017.html
Yellowstone-Teton Territory's Eclipse - http://www.yellowstoneteton.org/total-solar-eclipse
Rexburg's Eclipse - ​http://www.rexburgeclipse.com/
Eastern Idaho Eclipse - http://eieclipse.com/
South Menan Butte Eclipse - https://www.idahosolareclipse.com/

NATIONAL

NationalEclipse.com
Eclipse2017.org
GreatAmericanEclipse.com
​NASA - https://eclipse2017.nasa.go
Idaho Eclipse - https://visitidaho.org/trip-guides/2017-total-eclipse-idaho-what-you-should-know/
Wyoming Eclipse - http://www.wyomingstargazing.org/

Eclipse? What Eclipse?

On August 21st, 2017, Teton Valley will “host” a total eclipse of the sun.  This is a big deal! The moon will pass between the sun and the earth and totally block, or eclipse our view of the sun for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. the last total eclipse of the sun, visible from the U.S. was in 1979.

The “line of totality”, or the area in which the sun will be totally obscured by the moon, will pass directly over us between Driggs and Victor. Being on the line of totality has the potential to bring thousands of spectators and members of the scientific community to the valley.

Despite lasting only 2m 17s, the most hardy eclipse spectators are expected to arrive as much as 2 weeks in advance. Jackson, WY estimates they could get as many as 40,000 viewers, which they hope to divert from their already packed city over the hill to us. Planners who have worked many global eclipses in the past suggest that whatever your estimate is; double it and you’ll be close to actual attendance. The influx of eclipse spectators is affectionately called, “The Surge”.

This is something that is going to happen. We don’t need to invite them or advertise, they are just going to come. We need to get the word out to the community, the whole county; residents, businesses, emergency services, law enforcement, hospitals, and county organizations. We need to let everyone know what to expect, and what the county and cities are doing to prepare.
The Teton Valley News has kindly agreed to help us get the word out by running a series on the eclipse.

“Is this an invasion or an opportunity?”

So what does this mean for Teton Valley? For the sake of discussion, let’s use Jackson’s 40K estimate. We’ve never had an influx of 40,000 people into our valley before. What will we do with 40,000 people that need lodging, food, gas, cash, and bathroom facilities? Experience from previous eclipses tells us that some of our 40K guests will trickle in over the two weeks preceding the event possibly depleting our grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, and ATM’s and overloading our AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint cell service capacity. Then when we’re already in a bind, the main body of spectators (The Surge) will arrive, multiplying the challenges.

In the past, we’ve been able to reach out to Rexburg and/or Idaho Falls for assistance. This is not just a Teton Valley event. This is a regional event and everyone’s resources will be maxed out.
40,000 spectators visiting us is just a guess. Idaho Falls is expecting as many as 150,000 spectators. Casper estimates 500,000. Rexburg, Idaho Falls and Pocatello hotels and vacation rentals are already booked. Everything in the valley is booked.
County officials and local leaders are being proactive in preparing for this event and have been working to make sure the eclipse is a positive experience for residents, businesses, and visitors alike. The Mayors and Commissioner Leake have established a committee to plan for and identify risks and opportunities for a mass gathering of this magnitude. They have decided to make this an opportunity rather than an invasion. To act rather than be acted upon.

The objective is to identify what we have in place; our strengths and weaknesses and fill any gaps, and then be prepared to receive, manage and coordinate the departure of our guests, over an 18 day period.

The committee has taken a project management approach to planning for this event.  Scheduled meetings are held and an action register has been developed.  A sequence of critical activities has been established, critical partners have been identified and a budget has been set.
Subject matter experts have been identified to lead the committee’s efforts by developing plans for Emergency Management, Communications, Permitting, Public Works, Transportation, and Economic Impact.

The Emergency Management plan development will be led by Greg Adams, Teton County EMS Coordinator. Greg will collaborate with Law Enforcement, Fire, Ambulance and other agencies and organizations to evaluate our manpower and resource needs, as well as risks and associated mitigations. In addition Greg will assess the additional health, safety, environmental and security requirements inherent with the addition of thousands of visitors.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Mike Tyson

The Eclipse Communications Plan includes keeping the community informed by establishing communication to and from the public via all available elements of social media, call centers, Teton Valley News, community meetings  and a robust system of informative maps provided by Rob Marin, our County GIS Coordinator.

We are all in this together. It's probably safe to say that everyone in the valley will be impacted by the eclipse either directly or indirectly. We will need to work together.
At community meetings we will discuss things we can do to be prepared such as:
  • We need to be prepared for heavy bike traffic. Eclipse “chasers” who know that roads will be congested will bring their bikes. We’ll need additional bike racks for parking.
  • Restaurants will not be able to handle the crowds. They can be prepared by adding additional staff, increasing inventory and limiting menus to a few items to get customers in and out quicker
  • Grocery stores can be prepared by having refrigerated trucks standing by with critical items like food, water, toilet paper and beer
  • Feeding the surge will be a challenge. The community can be prepared by having additional catering services ramped up and prepared to feed the masses as well as event volunteers and EMS personnel
  • Hospitals can be prepared by adjusting schedules so staff personnel are available to handle the heavier than normal walk-in and emergency case load. We may need additional doctors and nurses.
  • Banks should be prepared with extra cash to load and reload ATM’s. They also need to be prepared to handle foreign currency exchange.
  • Gas stations should have additional tank trucks on hire to handle the increased gas demand.
  • We will need temporary housing, not for spectators but for outside volunteers and service providers. 
  • No road construction/repairs should be scheduled. Truck traffic should be kept to a minimum.
  • A burn ban should be in place regardless of the fire conditions.  Grass along roads and paths and parking areas should be cut to reduce exposure to vehicle exhaust related fires. 
  • Private business such as hardware stores can stock up on water, water containers, tarps, emergency generators and camping equipment. 
  • Residents should stock up on essentials and be prepared to “shelter in place”!
  • Residents hosting gatherings should look into the permitting process and take a look at their homeowners insurance policy to ensure they have sufficient coverage. 
These are just a few examples. The purpose is to get us all thinking proactively rather than reactively.

“No job is finished ‘till the paperwork is done…”

As usual the “devil is in the details” and planning for the eclipse is no exception. Permitting has emerged as a detailed and critical component and Kristin Owen, our Teton County Planner has stepped forward to coordinate our Permitting Plan. The County and City Planners are working together to identify the efficacy of our current permitting system for such an event. Their focus is to establish a robust permitting process for camping, parking, and food service concessions, to ensure safety, health and environmental concerns are met as well as plan for the allocation of emergency services and to develop a “one stop shopping”, user friendly permitting process.

What is Public Works? Short answer: just about everything! Thankfully Darryl Johnson our Teton County Director of Public Works, in partnership with city managers and RAD, has kindly offered to guide us through the minefield of solid waste, wastewater, signage and utilities. Darryl and his team will work closely with Kristin Owen and her team on meeting the expectations of the permitting process. Fortunately their offices are almost next door to each other!

An extremely important part of our planning concerns how we coordinate traffic, transportation and parking for an event of this size. How will we manage thousands of visitors on Hwy 33? Where will they all park? How will we avoid traffic jams and county wide gridlock? How will we manage law enforcement and emergency response vehicle access? Will we have enough gas? What about towing services? And don’t forget the airport and additional aviation related traffic. These and other questions will be addressed by our Driggs Community Development Director, Doug Self.

TREC Executive Director, Brian McDermott is helping us determine the economic impact this event has on our valley. Partnering with the Idaho Department of Labor and BYU - Idaho, Brian is helping us estimate, in advance, the target number of possible visitors we should plan for. Post event Brian will help us evaluate what economic effect (good or bad) the eclipse had on our cities and the county and it will be posted here. In addition, Brian and Alli Kadler, TREC Manager, are coordinating all planned events (when, where, who) scheduled in the valley during this period to help avoid conflicts and overlapping events.

“Responsibility + Authority = Accountability”

To make sure this all goes according to plan, Commissioner Leake and Mayors Hoops, Johnson and Potter are vetting the process regularly and providing additional support and guidance as necessary. It is their objective to manage this sizable project as an “event”, not an eclipse. The learnings from which will help them understand what we did that was effective, what we did that we could have improved on and what we didn’t do that we should have done. In the long term this event will help us as individual cities and the county to work across jurisdictional lines and coordinate/collaborate for the betterment of the greater community.

Residents and visitors looking for information regarding county and city plans for the eclipse are encourage to call: 208-557-3540,
email: eclipseteton@gmail.com
or visit the eclipse website: tetonvalleyeclipse.com
or the eclipse Facebook page: @tetonvalleyeclipse
or tweet us at https://twitter.com/EclipseTeton

Countdown to Totality Part 2: Eclipse Mass Gathering Permitting Update

As you have probably heard, August 21, 2017 at 11:34am, Teton Valley will experience a total solar eclipse.  It will only last a little over two minutes, but that is long enough to attract several thousand additional visitors beyond what we typically experience during the summer.  To ensure the potential adverse impacts to health, safety and security of our community are minimized, the county and cities are working collaboratively to establish a permitting process by which the private sector can plan and hold mass gathering events (e.g., camping, viewing, concerts, etc.) on privately owned lands.  The point of the permit is primarily to track the locations where the gatherings are occurring so that our emergency services providers can be aware of when and where they may be needed.  Secondly, the permit provides the land owner and organizer with information regarding the regulations relative to sanitation (solid and liquid), food services, traffic control and access, notifications to adjacent property owners, signage, security, alcohol use, business licensing, sales tax collection, and sound amplification.

A major consideration is making sure land owners and organizers appreciate the State regulations relative to liquid and solid waste collection and disposal.  Just having Porta Potty units available does not fulfill all the sanitation requirements.  There must be a contract in place for the servicing of the Porta Potty units and there must be a “grey water” collection and disposal system available for those wishing to rent campsites on their property.   You can’t just dispose of “grey water” on the ground.  Grey water is water primarily generated from cooking, washing dishes, bathing, etc.

Regulations regarding sanitation requirements for mass gathering events are contained in the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality “Technical Guidance Manual, Individual and Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems” which can be found on the webpage link: http://www.deq.idaho.gov/media/1148/tgm-entire.pdf   In this document on page 4-87 it states that “Campouts and overnight event requirements are at least 1 unit [porta potty] for every 50 participants.”  It goes on to give the requirement for single day/evening events.  For example, a concert with 3,001 – 4,000 people for 3 hours is required to have 16 porta potty (units) available.

The challenge in Teton Valley is, unless you have already reserved porta potty units for the weeks around the eclipse, there are no units available to rent.  Meaning if you were planning to set up a temporary RV/Camping Park, you can only serve self-contained RVs.  If you want to service tent campers, you will also need to have a permitted “grey water” disposal system (ref. page 4-69 of the fore mentioned regulation manual).

The ad hoc Eclipse Planning Committee is looking into other sources of porta potty units and how to handle disposal of the waste.   The cities and county are working diligently to get a “Mass Gathering” application and permitting process in place by mid-February so that land owners and event organizers will know what they need to do to hold a healthy, safe and secure gathering.  For more information on this, contact the city or county planning departments.
On the food services side of the event, Eastern Idaho Public Health District (EIPH) has Food Establishment Permitting/Licensing regulations.  Those regulations can be found on the webpage link: https://phd7.idaho.gov/EH/Food/foodmain.html

The following is an excerpt from the Health District’s website regarding who needs a food services license: “Foodborne illness such as E Coli, salmonella, and listeria are very serious and in certain populations, can be fatal. For the safety of the community, EIPH is asking individuals selling their food products on social media or other sites and locations to please call the health district (208-523-5382) and discuss if what they are selling requires a food license.”

It goes on to answer the question:  “So, who needs a food license and what types of food, if you are selling them to the public, require having a food license? Idaho Code states that a food license is required by any individual who plans to store, prepare, package, serve, and vend (sell) food directly to the consumer or otherwise provide food for human consumption. Following are some examples of foods that require a food license: any food (including milk and eggs) that comes from an animal that is raw or heat-treated (such as sushi, tamales, tacos, hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, brisket, chicken soup, etc.), a plant food such as raw seed sprouts and other cut fruits and vegetables, garlic-in-oil mixtures, and dairy products. This is not a comprehensive list. Call the health district if you have inquiries or concerns about the safety of specific food items. We can be reached at 208-523-5382.”

Regarding Cottage Foods it states: “An exception to foods that require a food license are known as cottage foods. Cottage Foods are low-risk foods that are made in a person's home or other designated locations and sold directly to a consumer. Examples of cottage foods include: baked goods that do not require refrigeration, fruit jams and jellies, honey, fruit pies, breads, cakes that do not require refrigeration, pastries and cookies that do not require refrigeration, candies and confections that do not require refrigeration, dried fruits, dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures, cereals, trail mixes and granola, nuts, vinegar and flavored vinegars, popcorn and popcorn balls, tinctures that do not make medicinal claims.  People are allowed to sell cottage foods at any venue provided the sale is direct to the consumer. Possible venues could include farmers’ markets, roadside stands, internet sales, and mail order sales.”

As the planning for this significant event evolves, future articles will be forthcoming.

Teton Totality Eclipse Planning Committee

Countdown to Totality pt. 1

TVN has graciously offered the 2017 Teton Valley Idaho Eclipse Committee space for periodic updates. This is the first of a series of articles that will be run to inform the community and provide a running report on the eclipse committees work and progress.

The week of January 9 was a busy one of the eclipse committee. After the holiday break the members returned with renewed energy and focus.

At the January 10 meeting (held weekly at 9am at the Armory; public welcome) two new logos were approved. (Insert both here); one for printed items and the other for electronic media. Both logos were designed and created by Malcolm Fraser. The name TETON TOTALITY was created by an entrepreneurial group of local citizens led by Stacy Brodis, Erica Goddard, Steph Sandell, and Ralph Mossman. They came up with the name to market their solar eclipse viewing glasses and where kind enough to donate it for our use.

The committee also decided to support three mass viewing locations. Two will be “villages”, on acreage yet to be determined. Each “village” will be a self-contained location complete with RV set ups, camping areas, parking, Porto potties, lighting fencing, concession areas trash and waste management. These area will make it easier for law enforcement, fire and EMS should they elect to preposition resources. We will try to place the first “village” on the west side of Hwy 33 just south of Driggs. The second one we hope to locate just north of Victor, also on the west side of 33. These general locations were selected based on the proximity to our two largest communities, access to the bike path (without having to cross the highway), and proximity to the line of totality. Between these two primary locations will be a viewing only (eclipse day- August 21, 2017) location setup, which will be on or as close to the line of totality as we can get it.

Other locations for camping and viewing will likely be set up by other organizations or private entities throughout the valley.

Bill Leake, now Citizen at Large Leake, has volunteered to help work with the cities and county to develop a simple permitting process for using properties to support eclipse events and temporary camping and parking for visitors. Our next article will provide more details to the community on this.

A special environmental meeting was held to evaluate the risks associated with having up to 50,000 eclipse visitors in the valley for an extended (72 hours plus). Critical stakeholders in attendance included Idaho Department of Fish and Game, US. Forest Service, Teton Regional Land trust, Friends of the Teton River, County Commissioners, County EMS and the Soil and Water District. Potential risks were identified and categorized as high, medium and low, and a follow-up meeting on January 25 will be held to develop a mitigation strategy and action plan.

Teton County Idaho Search and Rescue (TCISAR) team leads Jim Jackson Jr. and Doug VanHouten have also stepped up to help with the eclipse planning and preparation. Jim is the president of the new TCISAR Foundation and Doug is the president of the TCISAR Operations board. They are actively preparing to be able to handle multiple rescues simultaneously as well any search and rescue mission that may develop

About the Eclipse Webcast Series

www.nso.edu/eclipse2017

On August 21st 2017, every state in the US will experience a solar eclipse. Here we will discuss some of the basics you'll need to know if you are planning or helping to coordinate an eclipse event, or if you'd like to know a little bit more about what to expect. Each month we will cover three topics: 1. Solar Spotlight: What do you really need to know about the sun to understand what's happening during the eclipse 2. Eclipse Tips: Learn about some fun ideas to engage kids (and adults!) in eclipse fun, fitting for the run up to eclipse day, and also for the main event! 3. Straight from the Scientists: Learn about cutting edge research being done in the field of solar science, straight from the resarchers! The National Solar Observatory is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.