When board member Ian MacLeod and his wife Paige first visited Jackson Hole, “We knew about Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, but we didn’t know as much about the Bridger-Teton National Forest,” Ian says. One their first trip to the valley—a mid-1990s road trip that started on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and headed West with the purpose of visiting as many national parks as possible—they stayed in Grand Teton National Park. “We spent a week at Jenny Lake and fell in love with the Tetons,” Ian says. “We dreamed about a time in the future when we could come back and spend meaningful time here.”
They began spending more time in Jackson Hole in 2016 and moved to the valley full-time in 2020. “We still love Grand Teton National Park, but, living here, the Bridger-Teton is where we find ourselves spending the most time,” Ian says. “It’s less crowded and equally beautiful, easier to get to, and it’s huge. You can always find a new place to go.” That said, Paige is a GTNP volunteer—helping visitors at String and Jenny Lakes find their way around, learn about the area, and recreate responsibly. Ian says that he’d one day like to be a volunteer Teton Pass Ambassador for the Forest Service (in addition to volunteering on the Friends of the B-T board). “We’ve come to really love the Bridger-Teton, and I want to help promote responsible, informed use of the BT by all comers.” That the BTNF, and other federal lands, are for the public is important to Ian.
“National forests and parks are for everyone—regardless of their backgrounds,” he says. “There’s nothing else that has the power to bring people together like national forests and parks.”
3 things Ian never goes hiking without:
1. I do carry a sat phone, in case there’s a serious emergency;
2. Bear spray, snacks, and water;
3. Since I’m usually hiking with my dog, Angus, I’ve got mutt mitts; I always make sure to clean up after him, and I’ll often pick up other dog poop if I see it along the trail.