I appreciate TVN’s alert (Sept. 2 issue) regarding Geordie Gillett’s plans for the Grand Targhee Resort.
There’s a lot to digest, and more information will be coming. But I have some immediate comments about “visuals” and “socioeconomic impact” (two of the expansion impact categories the Forest Service will evaluate).
I live near Tetonia, and when I look east to our iconic Tetons, I already see the Resort. There’s a dirt road that is so long and straight that it always catches my eye. In late afternoon, I see sunlight reflecting off the cables of the Blackfoot lift: it looks like a bright, shiny zipper. Now Gillett wants more roads and a restaurant on the summit of Fred’s Mountain. High on the list of reasons we live in Teton Valley is to view the grandeur and beauty of the Teton Range. Diminish that, and diminish our experience living in the Valley.
There’s the perennial issue of employee housing. My guess is that Gillett will look to Driggs and Victor for that. But we, and nearby Alta WY, don’t have enough affordable housing as it is!
A mega-resort will bring in mega people. In winter there will be more inexperienced drivers, and more cars on icy Teton Pass and on slick I-15 going to and from the SLC airport. We’ll need more traffic lights on ID 33 to generate breaks in the increased year-round traffic going to and from Jackson. More empty second-homes will go up in new subdivisions, more houses will be short-term rentals. We’ll keep beating back big-box stores.
The resort that Gillett envisions is already a reality. There’s one over the hill, and many, many in next-door Utah and Montana, and Colorado, and California, and New Mexico, and so on. Why should our little valley be another one? Why can’t we keep our small towns, farms, open vistas, and Western character?
We citizens must ensure that our side of the Tetons, and our lifestyles, are not degraded by any expansion of the Grand Targhee Resort. Please provide your comments to the Driggs office of the US Forest Service (within 30 days after August 26, according to the TVN story).
Clint Van Siclen