New report details socioeconomic impacts of proposed Grand Targhee expansion

The economic benefits of proposed expansions at Grand Targhee Resort will not outweigh the costs to Teton County, Idaho, according to the new study.
A view of the Tetons from Grand Targhee Resort
A view of the Tetons from Fred’s Mountain, part of Grand Targhee Resort. The proposed expansion of the resort’s ski terrain would double visitor capacity and nearly double resort employment during the winter season. (Kyle Mackie/KHOL)

 

A new report analyzing the socioeconomic impacts of proposed expansions to the ski terrain and base area of Grand Targhee Resort released earlier this month found that new revenue would not outweigh the costs to Teton County, Idaho.

Grand Targhee is located in Wyoming but is only accessible through Teton Valley, Idaho. Cindy Riegel is chair of the Teton County, Idaho, Board of Commissioners, which commissioned the socioeconomic impact study with support from Teton County, Wyoming, and the Alta Solid Waste District.

“Without any revenue sharing, we will be subsidizing that resort development,” Riegel said, “since it’s in Wyoming and we have no revenue from the growth of a resort development on the other side of the state line.”

The report details how the proposed Targhee expansion would stress Idaho roads, emergency response and solid waste services, and further worsen the local shortage of affordable housing. It also explains how Teton County, Idaho, is constrained by state laws limiting or downright banning its ability to levy additional sales or other taxes, which otherwise could help the county reap some of the benefits from increased economic activity.

“It’s important for the rest of the community on both sides of the Tetons to understand how limited we are in our ability to tax both our residents and visitors in order to pay for the services required,” Riegel said.

That’s one part of the report that resort owner Geordie Gillett told the Teton Valley News he appreciated, though he also said he thought the report “demonized” Grand Targhee. 

The proposed expansion of the ski terrain is currently under review by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and a draft environmental impact statement is expected to be released in late summer or early fall.

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About Kyle Mackie

Kyle is a multimedia journalist who joined KHOL as news director in January 2021. Prior to moving West, she reported on education, immigration, racial justice and more for WBFO, the NPR affiliate in Buffalo, NY. With a background in international reporting, Kyle has also worked in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the Western Balkans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and geography from The George Washington University and master’s degree in journalism from the City University of New York. When not out reporting, Kyle can usually be found trail running, climbing, skiing or grooving to live music.

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