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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of July 24 - 30, 2002


Save Sun Valley’s signature landscape

Some landscapes are more than landscapes, more than the sum of their parts. They are unique signatures

Wild untamed coastlines speak of Oregon the way sandy beaches speak of Hawaii. Central Park signifies New York City the way Golden Gate Park says San Francisco.

These landscapes embody states of mind, evoke emotions and create visual memories. They are gifts from one generation to the next. They are living history.

The Wood River Valley has three such landscapes.

Bald Mountain, the landmark that defines the whole area, is one. Reinheimer Ranch, with its historic white barn, open fields, and grazing cattle at Ketchum’s southern entrance, is the second.

The third is the stretch of pasture on both sides of Sun Valley Road between Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Like most of the land owned by Sun Valley Resort, it was once part of the Brass Ranch. It later contained a rodeo arena. Today, it contains the Sun Valley Horsemen Center—pastures, corrals, tack sheds and barns that house the resort’s pack string, draft horses, wagons and sleighs.

Next to Baldy, the pastures are some of the most photographed areas around, seen in everything from advertising to coffee table books.

In summer, gentle fuzzy-nosed draft horses inhabit the pastures and are popular with visitors. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children have made their first acquaintance with a horse from behind the fence that separates the pasture from the bike path.

In winter, pole fences festooned with holiday lights are the trademarks of Sun Valley Resort. Penny Mountain has welcomed young sledders since the first kid discovered the easy access incline.

For years, Sun Valley city officials and resort managers warned that this stretch isn’t protected from development.

A recent land exchange put five acres of the pasture in the hands of the city of Sun Valley, which has proposed development of an arts center there. If approved, it will be the first big bite out of the signature landscape and may presage its loss.

Call it sentimental. Call it foolishness in the face of "progress," but development of this property would damage the area’s character and sever an important link with the legacy of the past.

Sun Valley, a city without a park or any other public facilities, ought to find a way to preserve this signature landscape—instead of being the first to chip away at it.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.