Cache Creek virtual daylight art project completed

JACKSON, Wyo. — Maybe you’ve wondered: What’s that bright orange and blue pavement stencil on Cache Creek Drive and Kelly Avenue through town? It marks water flowing below your feet. That’s a good thing, and it also happened to be a Jackson Hole Public Art and Teton Conservation District (TCD) joint project, now complete.

JH Public Art and TCD, in partnership with the Town of Jackson Public Works Department, announced the completion of the Cache Creek Stormwater Tube Virtual Daylight Project. The three entities collaborated over the last four months, enlisting Jackson-based graphic designer Matt Grimes, of Heliocentric Designs, to create an iconic, highly recognizable graphic brand for the Cache Creek Stormwater Tube. This brand is now visible—as a brightly colored blue & orange spray-painted stencil—along the streets that follow the underground path that Cache Creek takes through town.

“Daylighting” refers to the relatively new approach to reclaim and expose urban streams or drainages through natural, architectural, or cultural restoration. The purpose of virtually daylighting the Cache Creek Tube is to increase public education about stormwater and flood management in Jackson and inform citizens about what they can do to improve local water quality. Large aluminum signs with key messages for the community also follow the above-ground path, in various locations from Cache Creek Drive to Kelly Avenue and into Karns Meadow.

“Our community has a strong connection with Cache Creek on the national forest, but that appreciation is lost as Cache Creek enters the Town of Jackson and disappears into its subterranean flow-route,” said Carlin Girard, TCD water resource specialist & associate director. “We hope this project sheds light on why Cache Creek is absent within the town, and helps invigorate an out-of-the-box conversation about how its ecological and community value might be restored.”

Cache Creek originates in wilderness and is Flat Creek’s largest tributary. But it was buried in three pipes running under the town of Jackson after it flooded in 1974. Where Cache Creek currently daylights in select locations, such as Mike Yokel Park, the stream is just a percentage of its full size.

The majority of the creek flows under Kelly Avenue before daylighting into Karns Meadow. Other smaller tubes take the stream north to the Elk Refuge and west to Flat Creek.

Across the country, case studies show that daylighting previously buried streams increases community livability, provides economic benefits, and improves water quality and natural habitat.

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