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For the week of September 20 through 26, 2000

Powerful cooperation

With the world so fraught with naysayers, how refreshing to see a little patience and persuasion resulting in unity and civic responsibility.

Two cases in point.

First, two of the Wood River Valley’s most contentious groups–snowmobilers and cross-country skiers–have hammered out a plan to end years of angry disputes over who uses which snow-covered trails in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

The Winter Recreation Coalition has agreed on boundaries separating skiers from snowmobilers. SNRA forest supervisor Bill LeVere must approve the plan before it can go into effect.

The apparent end to this controversy will free up energies of skiers, snowmobilers and the SNRA to concentrate on preserving the vast and spectacular woodlands as a model of environmentally friendly multi-uses.

Second, the city of Sun Valley has agreed to join Ketchum and Blaine County in helping to recruit a housing director and to contribute to development of affordable housing in the Wood River Valley.

By its action, Sun Valley now recognizes, as have officials in Ketchum and Blaine County, the urgency of housing for employees who’re being forced out of the area by soaring housing costs.

And if the Wood River Valley doesn’t act, how severe can this sort of crisis become?

One need only look to the resort town of Telluride, Colo., where service workers now have resorted to pitching primitive shelters and becoming squatters on public lands in nearby forests.

The snowmobiler and cross-country skier pact and growing support for affordable housing provide something more.

They serve as models of how problems created by the valley’s surging growth can be solved.


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