To shape policy, guide development, and provide outreach to preserve natural resources, protect rural character, and promote vibrant communities in Teton Valley through civic action.
Who We Are:
Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (more commonly know as VARD) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit citizens’ group working towards fair and predictable development that will benefit the entire community and future generations. Our approach is a collaborative one. We seek to be a resource for local decision makers and developers, as well as to educate and empower citizens to be involved in the local decision making process.
What We Believe:
VARD believes in smart growth and thoughtful development that benefits and promotes vibrant communities and future generations.
Our Core Values
- Responsibility and accountability in our local government.
- Civic engagement & public participation in the community development process.
- Preservation & stewardship of our rural communities & local natural resources.
- Serving as a free community educational resource for everyone.
What We Do:
VARD is a local, nonprofit organization that works with citizens, other nonprofit organizations, developers and local government to promote responsible development and sustainable use of the rural and natural resources of Teton Valley (located along the western slopes of the Teton mountains in ID and WY).
Historically, Teton Valley’s economy has been based on agriculture, but in the past 10 years it has experienced a dramatic shift to a real estate and recreation economy. The county population increased 142% from 1970 to 2000, and another 25% from 2000 to 2005, making Teton County, ID one of the fastest growing counties in Idaho, which is one of the fastest growing states in the nation.
This economic shift and growth has created land-use changes that threaten the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the area and challenge the efforts to sustain the rural character of local communities. A study commissioned by the Doris Duke Foundation and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition ranked Teton Valley number one of 43 “mega-sites” assessed for conservation priorities within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). This assessment was based on the unparalleled ecological resources of Teton Valley and their vulnerability to development.
Ironically, it is the valley’s unique natural resources and quality of life that are driving growth. Teton Valley encompasses approximately 450 square miles in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It is bordered on three sides by mountains: the Teton Range to the east, the Big Hole Mountains to the west and the Snake River Range to the south. The valley is rich with wildlife including fragile species such as grizzly bears, bald eagles and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The area is renowned for outdoor recreation such as great skiing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and snowmobiling, to name a few.