IMPACT TO WILDERNESS & GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
January 14, 2021
IMPACT TO WILDLIFE
January 2, 2021
“Teton County, Idaho, does not receive property tax, sales tax, real estate transfer fees, inclusionary zoning fees, or other sources of revenue from the resort’s operations”.

Teton Valley News - Dec. 16, 2020

 
 

How the growth of a ski resort influences it's neighbors


1. County Roads/Transportation:

  • Increased vehicle traffic into and out of Teton County, Idaho leading to congestion, increased noise and air pollution and degradation of state highways and county roads.
  • Teton County Idaho is already impacted by PM 2.5 air pollution during the summer wildfire season. This could be extended into the winter season if there are more vehicles idling at the one traffic light in Driggs and Victor.
  • Increased use of alternate routes to Grand Targhee Resort leading to higher traffic counts, dust, accidents, and degradation of rural county roads as well as the quality of life for the community members living along those routes.
  • Increased wildlife-vehicle collision on Ski Hill Road and other major and minor routes in Teton County (due to increase traffic) and potential habitat degradation and/or barriers to wildlife crossing of transportation corridors.

2. County Emergency Services:

  • Increased needs for Teton County emergency services including visits to our community hospital, calls for ambulance/ fire, Search and Rescue efforts and increased services from our County Sheriff’s office.

3. County Transfer Station/Waste Management:

  • Increased waste (construction, household, hotel/food service, recycling, hazardous waste) coming into the Teton County Transfer Station during construction and as a result of higher visitation, overnight accommodations, food services, and the presence of year round residents.

4. Cost of Housing/Real Estate:

  • As Teton County continues to grow, a major resort expansion at Grand Targhee could accelerate and exacerbate our current housing shortage by increasing real estate prices and short-term rentals. This has the potential of displacing our public, private, and nonprofit workforce while also creating longer commute times and associated traffic impacts. This, in turn, becomes a social justice issue when middle income folks and resort employees can no longer afford to live within 50 miles of a ski resort.

5. Water quality and quantity:

  • Local sources of drinking water for residents of Teton Valley located in Alta and Teton Canyon could be negatively impacted by runoff from construction in the proposed expansion area.
  • Wastewater treatment facilities at the resort may not be adequate to appropriately treat additional wastewater and ensure the Teton River watershed is not negatively impacted.
  • Increased water usage could also impact water availability and aquifer recharge in the Teton River watershed.*

6. Visual Impacts

  • Include restaurants on top of Freds Mountain and Peaked. New roads, new lift towers, tree removal for new runs, clearing trees in existing runs, increased night lighting for restaurants, homes and condos at the base area, grooming operations at night done by snow cats.
  • Driggs is a dark sky community. The City has determined that light pollution is not the inevitable side-effect of progress, but is instead indicative of wasteful, harmful, and ineffective outdoor lighting. Thus, it has decided to pursue what is known as a dark-sky policy—this is not just about starry nights, but addresses public issues related to visibility and safety, economic vibrancy, property rights, environmental health, and resource efficacy.

Alta, Wyoming

  • All traffic funnels through Alta, WY’s two lane country road. This increase of traffic has negative impacts on Alta Wyoming. People are speeding through the Alta school zone all the way to the resort. Deer, Moose and Elk are being killed by the additional vehicles on the road.
  • There is a lack of Teton County Sheriffs department to control speeding motorists.
  • Alta's culinary water system is located up Teton Canyon. After the road to Sacajawea was completed in 2001, Alta residents began to have sediment in their drinking water during spring run off. This has become a yearly event. Residents report cloudy drinking water and their toilets tanks become covered with a layer of silt.
  • There is now a reader board in Alta for parking at Grand Targhee.

*Cindy Riegel, Teton County Commissioners public comment letter to USFS 10/9/2020