Jack Creek Road passes Q&A
Who can get one, how to get one and where to get one
Who owns the road?
A complex dialogue surrounds Jack Creek Road (JCR). To keep things simple for the purpose of this article, JCR is a private road owned by Moonlight Basin and access must be requested in order to receive codes to use on gates located on either end of the dirt road. A three-mile stretch of the road is Madison County’s responsibility.
Drivers found on the road without a pass are considered trespassing and may be reported to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.
Who can get a pass?
Several different types of JCR passes are available. Information below is provided by Kevin Germain, director of the Moonlight Community Foundation and vice president of Lone Mountain Land Company.
• Road Rights: Homeowners with property on JCR may give access to guests, property managers, contractors, etc.
• Contractor Access: Monthly and weekly passes are available to workers who use JCR to get to and from work. Registered contractors may also use this pass on their days off to ski.
• Madison Valley Ski Club (MVSC): This pass gives access only during the ski season to Madison County residents who must show proof of Madison County residency—owning or renting property—and must have a Big Sky Resort season pass in order to be eligible.
• Moonlight Membership: Moonlight Basin members with a Signature membership may purchase an annual pass and grant access to guests (personal or rental) for a daily fee.
• Emergency and Official Access: 3Rivers, Northwestern Energy and local services— sheriff and fire departments— receive free access to JCR.
How much do JCR passes cost?
• Road Rights pass holders pay an annual fee and their guests do not have to pay for a pass. Emergency and Official Access passes are available at no cost to the appropriate applicants.
• Contractor Passes are $300/ month and $75/week.
• MVSC passes are $350 for the ski season. Members from the 2019 season will receive a $90 credit due to coronavirus cancellations/complications.
• For Moonlight Signature member inquires, individuals may contact email@example.com for more information.
What goes into the pass costs?
“It is important to note we operate the Jack Creek Road at a deficit,” Germain said in an email. Costs for maintaining the road exceed money brought in from passes purchased. Snow plowing, grading and security go into maintence measures, and capital improvements are not included in Moonlight’s annual operating deficit. In 2019, Moonlight spent approximately $1 million on road repairs. The near-term goal is to operate the road at break even, Germain said.
Can I get a day pass?
No. Daily, weekly or monthly access for recreational use for the general public is not offered.
What is the Madison Valley Ski Club?
Germain described MVSC as a legacy Moonlight Basin program. Its aim is to give Madison County residents an opportunity, a shortcut of sorts, to enjoy skiing and winter recreational opportunities on Lone Peak. The Ennis Chamber of Commerce provides administrative support for this program, reviewing application documents and providing JCR passes and gate codes.
“The only thing that’s available through the chamber on this side of the mountain is just the ski season,” Marshall Bettendorf, executive director of the Ennis Chamber of Commerce, emphasized. Summer access and daily, weekly, or monthly passes are not offered or available through the chamber.
Should I contact Jack Creek Preserve to get my pass?
No. Abigail King, executive director of the Jack Creek Preserve, said she gets calls at least once a week from people asking for a JCR pass through the preserve. The Jack Creek Preserve is located within the JCR corridor and offers different conservation education programs. The preserve does have a form on their website for individuals to request a road pass, but they must be affiliated with a conservation program to use the form. Those looking to receive a road pass through the preserve are typically already involved with a program and have contacted King or a preserve employee.
How can I get a pass?
For all passes, applicants must provide driver’s license numbers, proof of insurance, fill out the applicable pass form and a liability waiver—part of the online application. Passes are issued via email and can be paid for through roadpass.org.
• Road Rights: visit https://www.roadpass.org/road-rights
• Contractor Access: visit https://www.roadpass.org/contractor
• Madison Valley Ski Club: visit the Ennis Chamber of Commerce website and click on the MVSC banner. Or, visit https://www.roadpass.org/madison-valley-ski-club. The chamber website will redirect the applicant to roadpass.org.
• Moonlight Members: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
• Emergency and Official Access: visit https://www.roadpass.org/official