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Balance housing, wildlife

Jackson Hole News & Guide
Letters to the Editor, June 21, 2017
Submitted by Pietro Castelli, MAPP class 2016-2017 during his externship at Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance in Jackson, Wyoming
Link to letter in paper

Balance housing, wildlife

Our community is well known to cherish wildlife and wild spaces, and similarly known for our explosive growth and housing issues. But chasing more housing with little forethought will do real harm to wildlife.

The current development of the Sagebrush Apartments is a perfect example of this. The developers are certainly helping our community by creating housing for workers. However, the developers failed to consult with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. That is negligent at best.

Simple design changes, such as the removal of stone walls that screen the parking lot and the designation of a 30-foot wildlife corridor, would allow wildlife to pass through unhindered.

Jackson needs more housing for workers. That is not in dispute. But we should not sacrifice the things that make our community exceptional in blind pursuit of that goal. The Sagebrush Apartments development shows us that we need clearer, stricter land development regulations that protect our wildlife, the very spirit of Jackson.

The Town Council should create natural resource protections in town, something it is looking at this year. Furthermore, we need to raise public money so we can incentivize developers to leave key wildlife corridors intact in future projects.

We should be able to build housing that doesn’t harm wildlife. This type of win-win situation is firmly within our grasp.

Pietro Castelli
Jackson