Burden of Targhee expansion
In the name of what is right and equitable, let’s bring together a meeting of the planning and zoning commissions and county commissioners from both Teton counties to discuss the proposed massive expansion of Grand Targhee Resort. This meeting or meetings should be open to the public, and the public should be allowed to speak. Have the meetings in a high school auditorium so physical distancing can be had.
The negative implications for this expansion fall solely and explicitly on Teton County, Idaho. From the availability of affordable housing to traffic and wear and tear on roadways to increased air traffic and loss of dark skies — the list is long and deep. Next time the Perseids roll around, get a room over here. The number of “earth-grazers” in our sky last month were phenomenal.
We tend to like what we are doing over here in Teton County, Idaho, the quiet side of the Tetons. We do not want to be a redo of what you have done on your side.
Seeing that SE Group was suggested by Grand Targhee and then hired by the U.S. Forest Service to write the environmental impact statement for the proposed expansion is worrisome. SE Group has done the EIS prep for many of Vail Resorts’ expansions.
Many of you love Grand Targhee. You come for the ease (and not having to pay for) parking, you come for the relatively low lift ticket prices. You come for the quiet and lack of lift lines. Targhee is not Breck, it’s not Park City, that’s why you like it.
You have until Oct. 12 to send comments to the Forest Service. Let’s hope the meeting proposed above happens quickly. We have a lot to lose if a group of billionaires buys Grand Targhee.
Million-dollar homes don’t help
The Gill subdivision would be a great idea were it truly attainable for workers. Homes valuing at $1 million does not help. It overpopulates.
I am 51 years old. I moved here 30 years ago last May. I am being pushed out of the valley now, because I can’t find basic help.
One person wanted to charge me $1,000 last winter to snow shovel that another finally charged $400 for. I should not have to choose between my 500-square-foot roof caving in or my mortgage.
On another occasion, two baseboard heaters on separate walls exploded in February, indicating a short. I live in an 80-year-old dry cabin. I called around to many electricians; the last one was a friend of a friend. His answer: “I am working on an 11,000-square-foot home and can’t get off schedule.”
With the kind of money that has moved and is moving in here, they can pay exorbitant prices to our workers. This is forcing people like me to leave the valley.
So what’s left? As we all know, we’ll have a feudal system with no middle class. The greater problem is that those are the people who don’t necessarily care about a “carbon footprint.” The rich want to get richer and the working class can only think about survival. Million-dollar homes will ultimately go to the former and will once again leave out the latter. It will cause an over-encroachment on wildlife and wild lands. It will only work to destroy the one true asset we have here.
We all moved here to love, to coexist with, to be stewards of these great lands and habitat around us. Adding more people to the mix only adds to our problems. We must learn that there is a finite “when” in terms of development (including not abusing the 3% of developable land). Using growth to generate cash is an endless cycle that only really leads to one end — loss of our quality of life and all that we hold sacred.
Tell our county commissioners — email firstname.lastname@example.org — to come up with a plan that fully and forever protects the inherent value of Jackson Hole. We must be extremely discerning about any future housing, and who and what it’s intended for.
Mary Wendell Lampton
Boat ramp stunt
For over 20 years I’ve been running rivers and leaving my keys with my truck at boat ramps. The routine failed me this past Saturday. Not because of losing my keys in the river, but because someone stole my truck. The Snake finally bit back.
I love river life; it’s been my passion and profession for years. On Saturday I witnessed the best and worst of the river community. As the Snake River Fund’s executive director, I was involved in Old Bill’s Reimagined, hosting a booth at South Park landing. By 1:30 p.m. we had chatted with dozens of guides, local families, floating parties from Wyoming, Utah, East Idaho and Colorado, tubers and more. I was at the ramp tooting the Snake River Fund’s horn in the name of promoting a safe public access to and stewardship of the Snake River headwaters, a place I love.
Following my work responsibilities, I hit the river for an evening float, just like the hundreds of times before. We dropped our boat, cleared the landing zone, ran the shuttle, returned and hit the water. Right at dark we pulled off the river to an empty boat ramp.
To my shock, my truck was gone. That’s right, not with my permission, not because of a shuttle company mistake, but because someone (likely a river user) felt it was their right to use it for their shuttle.
In Wyoming and all 49 other states that is called theft. I’ve made a few poor decisions in my life, but stealing a car (a felony) for a 10-mile shuttle ride has never been one of them. Ever hear of making plans, hitchhiking or a bike shuttle? Turns out my truck was taken upstream to South Park landing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the thief was also intoxicated, a double whammy. I bet the thief didn’t consider I might need my vehicle for an emergency or to get to work or to get home or take care of my family. It was all about them. The thief probably drinks out of glass bottles on the river too.
River users, reconsider who you float with and what you do with your keys. The action of this person doesn’t represent all of the other great river enthusiasts I know. How about you?