Maytag Property Becomes Public Land! 

September, 29 2020



, Patnerships Matter

, Collaboration

Maytag Property Becomes Public Land!

VARD is pleased to announce that, along with our partners the Caribou-Targhee National Forest (CTNF), the Conservation Fund, the Teton Regional Land Trust, supportive landowners at the Beartooth Group, the Teton County Commissioners, and Idaho’s Congressional delegation, the 960-acre Maytag Property in Horseshoe Canyon has been acquired by CTNF and is now public land. This is truly a banner day for Teton Valley, as this property is now accessible to the public and will be used for enhanced wildlife protection. The full press release is here.

The property is now open to the public, but motorized access is prohibited until CTNF completes a Travel Management Plan Amendment for the newly-minted CTNF land. CTNF will be requesting your participation in the Plan Amendment, so be sure to watch for public notices about the project. VARD will also keep you in the loop. 

We also ask you to enjoy the land with the utmost respect. As we’ve all experienced, public lands in Teton Valley have taken a beating during COVID Summer, and we want to ensure that the pristine Maytag land retains its current splendor. 

The Backstory

VARD has been involved in this effort from Day One. In 2018, the Maytag Property was placed on the market, which, due to the underlying zoning, meant that it could have been developed with over 384 homes. VARD immediately went to work, trying to find a way to curtail the development potential of this ecologically-sensitive and visually-rich property. After 3 months of research (mostly in the basement of the courthouse), we found that Teton County, Idaho had zoned the property incorrectly, and we worked with the County and then-Maytag Property owners, the Beartooth Group, to correct the zoning. This eliminated 336 homes from potentially being developed!

After the zoning correction, we thought, why stop there? What if we could protect this property forever...and possibly open it up to the public?

First, VARD Executive Director Shawn Hill contacted Caribou-Targhee National Forest to see if there was any interest for them to buy the property. Through them, we learned that a planned purchase elsewhere in the USFS system had fallen through, and perhaps that money could be used for the Maytag Property. However, these funds were not enough to cover the $4.5 million price tag.

VARD decided to act. VARD Board Member Linda Unland learned that an old college friend was the Senior Vice President for Marketing And Communications for the Conservation Fund, a DC-based organization that specializes in the purchase and sale of ecologically-significant lands. Unland and Hill were able to contact key personnel at the Conservation Fund to pitch the idea of purchasing the Maytag Property. The Fund indicated they would pursue the idea further.

In Summer of 2018, Hill contacted Congressman Mike Simpson’s office, asking if they could get funding for the purchase of the Maytag Property in order to make it public Forest Service land, thereby protecting it from development. They said they would look into it.

Last month, the US Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which made the acquisition possible through full and permanent funding through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This Act was fully supported by Congressman Simpson. 

In Spring 2020, the Conservation Fund purchased the Maytag Property with the intent to sell it to the CTNF. Months of due diligence followed, and now the CTNF has officially closed on the property. It will be open to the public and available for everyone to enjoy, and will be one of the biggest land deals in Teton Valley history.

On a final note, VARD wants to thank you, our members, for your continued support. Your contributions make it possible for the sequence of events described above to happen - with tremendous results! This is the value of VARD, and it is you who allows us to leverage your investment toward outstanding community benefits and a legacy for generations to come. With your support, you fund a staff and board that can accomplish these things. We are so proud to be a catalyst to bring this incredible project to Teton Valley.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

VARD and Grand Targhee

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Niki Richards, Executive Director
(208) 354-1707
285 East Little Avenue
PO Box 1164
Driggs, ID 83422



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