This is footage from a July 20, 2010 flight over the incomplete portions of River Rim Ranch Division II located on 5,500 acres in Teton County, Idaho. Designed as a higher-end golf course community, Division I was first platted in 2004. Seen in this video is Division II, which was platted in 2007, but has yet to be completed. According to Teton County GIS, this razed area encumbers over 500 acres. River Rim is currently owned by Big Sky Western Bank. Big Sky reports that this area has been reseeded, but may take a few years to become established.
Light Hawk assisted Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) with a flight videography project over Teton Valley, ID. VARD's exectuive director and a local vidoegrapher gathered video footage for a PBS film advocating creative solutions to the west-wide problem of "zombie subdivisions," proliferations of platted lots with many roads but few or no houses and no human inhabitants. These subdivisions mar the landscape, degrade wildlife habitat, and drain county coffers across the west. The film will show Teton Valley as an example of the larger problem, and it will present potential solutions with broad applicability. The goal of the larger project, a collaboration between VARD, the Sonoran Institute and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, is to create ways to redesign these parcels, reduce densities, and in some cases get rid of the subdivisions altogether.
Check out Assignment Earth's coverage of the fall-out from the housing market bubble in Teton Valley, Idaho. It 'isn't just affecting the suburbs of major metropolitan areas. Rural communities throughout the Rocky Mountain west are suffering too. Teton County Idaho with a population of fewer than 10,000 now has an astonishing 7,000 vacant lots, rural farms now converted to cul-de-sacs to nowhere. It's a surplus some say could take anywhere from 70 to nearly 300 years to build out even if the economy picks up.'
Check out the Sonoran Institute's video on the importance of open space in the Northern Rockies and the West. It addresses the loss of one of the West's most valuable assets, open space, which serves as a community's agricultural base and wildlife habitat. The video was done in partnership with Conservation Media.
Check out VARD's Video from our 2010 1% for the Tetons Project Proposal. Working in partnership with the Sonoran Institute - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Joint Venture, VARD will leverage research efforts and a real-life demonstration project to catalyze a shift toward a more sustainable pattern of land use and development in Teton Valley and throughout the greater Tetons area.