Friday, July 10, 2009

Not Just Another Mountain Town

Why Teton Valley Idaho is a hidden jewel in the Gem State

Positioned on the western side at the foot of the Teton Range, Teton Valley Idaho represents not one, but four superb mountain towns nestled in the midst of a steadfast rural, agricultural and ranching community.

At the northern end of the Valley lies the City of Tetonia, ID population 247 (2000 census). At the center of the Valley lies the City of Driggs, ID population 1,100 (2000 census). At the eastern edge of the Valley lies the Town of Alta, WY population 400 (2000 census). At the southern end of the Valley lies the City of Victor, ID population 840 (2000 census).

Each location offers a its own diverse flavor of mountain town living, centered around the principal theme – “…go outside and play…”

As you commute to your job during the week, or commute to your favorite park to play on the weekend, consider these Teton Valley facts;

1-2 minutes drive to: World Class Fly Fishing; Cross Country Skiing;
15-30 minutes drive to: Grand Targhee Resort; championship Golf; Hiking, Mountain Biking
15-45 minutes drive to: Upland Game + Bird Hunting;
30-45 minutes drive to: Jackson Hole WY; Grand Teton National Park;
90-120 minutes drive to: Yellowstone National Park

Ever considered shifting gears during your commute? National Geographic has. In April 2009, National Geographic announced that Driggs, ID would be the home of the first Geotourism Center in the US. Teton Valley lies within the Greater Yellowstone Region, and its selection as a center for sustainable tourism reinforces the beauty and significance of this region.

Confused? Here’s a simple explanation of Geotourism provided by National Geographic.

“Geotourism is the kind of travel that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”

Teton Valley Idaho is evolving from a once predominantly rural/ag./ranch community into one that includes recreation based tourism. This transition has brought both public and private development projects.

Private development tends to garner ample media coverage, and Teton Valley’s growth has generated its fair share of News through large scale projects including the Grand Targhee Expansion; Huntsman Springs; Teton Springs; Teton Reserve; Teton Saddleback Vistas, among many others. Each of these projects reflect different phases of the development cycle, some are complete pending construction of homes on previously sold lots; some are being completed in phases; others are yet to break ground.

Public development has gained momentum over recent months and threatens to rival the pace of the private folks. Idaho Transportation Department’s investment in Scenic Byways during 2009 will work in parallel with National Geographic through the construction of the new Geotourism Center; Urban Renewal funds will see streetscape improvements constructed in Driggs; Teton Basin Ice + Recreation will soon commence construction on the new Ice Arena in Victor as soon as Steel is delivered, whilst the new Transit Facility will be constructed alongside the Ice Arena this summer.

Forward planning continues in Victor with the work of Envision Victor, an organization created following the receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Orton Family Foundation to guide the Community through a detailed planning process

“Envision Victor seeks to implement a new kind of planning in our City, a process that is focused on engaging our citizens, bridging our divisions, and honoring our shared values, in order to realize a vibrant and enduring Victor for years to come. The first phase of the project will last two years, but we hope it will continue well beyond.

The Goals and Objectives of Envision Victor are summarized as;
• Engage and connect all segments of the Victor community
• Describe and articulate the City’s Heart and Soul
• Enhance a sense of belonging
• Enact a new model of planning and decision making
• Develop a land use plan that incorporates visions and values of its citizens
• Strengthen the ability of the Citizens to integrate the ideas of the Citizens into tangible products such as transportation, capital improvements and main street plans

Construction will commence in mid July 2009 on a Bike Park in Victor. An initiative of non-profit Victor Velo, City of Victor has approved development of a bike park within the boundaries of Pioneer Park. An in‐town bike park is designed to pack as much fun as possible into a small space while teaching the youth of Victor Idaho about the lifetime sport of cycling. Victor Velo will begin the construction of a pump track & set of dirt jumps as the next step towards a multi‐discipline cycling facility unique to Southeast Idaho. A pump track is a cycling feature that looks similar to a skate board park, but made of dirt, and is designed to accommodate cyclists of all ages and skill levels.”

With so much activity on the horizon in an otherwise dark economic environment, it is imperative that growth Teton Valley is managed with the degree of stewardship deserving of the Greater Yellowstone Geotourism region.

With its many wildlife corridors and unspoiled vast wilderness areas, this delicate ecosystem, combined with unparalleled recreation has been seeking a way to harmonize with one another. Recent changes in City and County Planning Ordinances has cast a might tighter net across growth and will result in more intensive scrutiny of development proposed in designated wildlife corridors and wetland areas, potentially making development in those areas difficult and costly.

To learn more about Development + Business opportunities in the Teton Valley and Jackson Hole region, contact Meagan Hill, NAI Jackson Hole (307) 734-8700,

To receive a copy of a power-point presentation detailing Teton Valley’s growth and supply, including economic changes, contact Julie Bryan, Broker/Owner of Windermere Real Estate/Teton Valley/Jackson Hole. You can email or call 307-699-0205.

Order or Download a copy of National Geographic’s Greater Yellowstone Geotourism Map

Download a copy of the Commonsense Guidelines to Living in Teton Valley

Written by Meagan Hill with contributions from Julie Bryan

Writer's Bio.

Meagan Hill is a Commercial Real Estate Investments Specialist with NAI Jackson Hole. Born in Sydney, Australia, Meagan's career began in Construction + Property Development including both private development and government agency work, reaching from Australia to Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and onwards as far as India and Italy. During her career, Meagan's roles have varied immensely, covering a broad spectrum of the real estate, property development and construction industries. Meagan is a Green Star Accredited Professional (Australian equivalent of LEED) and brings a commercially viable, sustainable perspective to her work. Meagan has received several industry awards including winner of the National Association of Women in Construction Award (2000) and Young Achiever of the Year (2006) from the Property Council of Australia (ACT) Australia.

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