Growling over growth in Jackson Hole |

Growling over growth in Jackson Hole

Allen BestVail, CO Colorado

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Jackson Hole is engaged in a noisy debate about population growth. Change the names and the numbers, and its a story that could be about almost any mountain valley of the West.Jackson, the city of 10,000 people, is contained on the north by public lands, and on the east and west by mountains. The logical place for the city to grow is southward, into ranch country called South Park.There, basically as an extension of the city, two major projects already exist. Called Melody Ranch and Rafter J, they are almost entirely of low-density and somewhat large homes, most of them occupied full-time. In other words, this is home to Jacksons upper middle class. But given the economics of land in Jackson Hole, the great growth areas are now more distant, to a place called the Starr Valley, about an hour away, or even across Teton Pass into Idaho, near the communities of Driggs and Victor.Into this situation came a developer from Chicago who has proposed a mixture of free-market and affordable housing 500 units in all to appeal to the middle class, at least as it is defined by the economics of Jackson Hole. Called Teton Meadows Ranch, the project would offer homes ranging in cost from $400,000 to $740,000. Houses would be smaller than 2,000 square feet, with the largest lots no more than a quarter-acre in size.The Jackson Hole News&Guide has had spirited letters on the proposal for months. Most writers despise the continued urbanization of the bucolic neighborhood. Lets have the courage to absolutely cap growth said one writer, Nancy Shea, who argues that the greater ethical obligation is to the elk, the moose, the bear, and the mountain lion.Another letter-writer, Yves R.H. Desgouttes, sees this and other arguments as phony. The moral obligation is to the working class needed to service those who have flocked to Jackson Hole. We should treat them well, he says.

CANMORE, Alberta – Canmore is gearing up for the celebration of its 125th as a community.The town, a recreation-based community of about 10,000 just outside Banff National Park, was created in 1883 by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was used to store supplies and maintain locomotives. Those tasks were later moved to Calgary, which is about 45 minutes away, but by then mining of anthracite coal had begun. The mine closed in1979, but a reunion of all those who were somehow involved in that mining economy is planned for this summer.Among Colorado mountain towns, there are strong parallels with Crested Butte. There, anthracite and also bituminous coal were mined beginning in the 1880s. However, the last coal mine at Crested Butte closed in 1952.

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