New Ruralism embraced in
GRANBY, Colo. Second-home developers
have embraced the buzz-phrase New Ruralism in describing plans for
2,000-plus homes at SolVista, a ski area and golf course project
recently annexed into Granby.
The phrase has been
around for the better part of a decade, perhaps more, and is even a
course in architectural and planning schools. In 1996, in an
article about plans for a housing development near Irvine, Calif.,
a professor of urban planning defined New Ruralism as "an attempt
to bring design elements of rural communities into a suburban
In Florida, near Fort
Lauderdale, New Ruralism was explained as being the opposite of New
Urbanism. Instead of living in the shadows of each other's homes,
as occurs with New Urbanism, residents of New Ruralism projects
were to live on the edge of open space.
What does New Ruralism
mean in the context of SolVista? Gerry Engle, a principal of the
Cordillera Group, which is the managing partner in the development
of the homes, said to expect neither mansions nor suburban-like
grids. Instead, he's tells the Sky-Hi News (Aug. 7) about
communities that are "organically grown" around "resources and
landmarks, leaving ample open space." Each of these clusters of 20
to 40 homes, which he calls "camps," is to have its own identity,
depending upon the context.
"We have a river, so we'll build a river camp," he said. "We
have an elk preserve. Around that we'll create an elk camp. Around
the ski hill, we'll have the ski camp."
Engle's Cordillera Group has previously built high-end gated
communities near Beaver Creek and Steamboat Springs, all in
Colorado, as well as in Sonoma County, Calif. In this project,
however, they're aiming at the middle- to upper-middle class in
Colorado's nearby Front Range or in closer-in cities of the Midwest
such as Kansas City.
In a sense, this is no different than what occurred before. Long
before Vail, Aspen, or Sun Valley, Grand County, where Granby is
located, was a second-home community. Only then, cabins were truly
rustic mostly, they didn't have running water.
Bikers, hikers feud over
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. A proposal to
designate 9,500 acres in the Lake Tahoe Basin as wilderness has
mountain bikers and wilderness purists feuding. If the proposal by
a California senator is approved, mountain bikes will be banned
from the tract.
The Tahoe World
(Aug. 6) didn't find two sides to the issue. Banning motorized
vehicles was OK, the paper said, but why allow big and heavy horses
but not small and light bicycles? "How ridiculous," said the
SUN VALLEY, Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike
Simpson is proposing a compromise over a long-contested chunk of
ground in Idaho's White Cloud Mountains that makes nobody very
About half the land
would be designated as wilderness, and almost half would be left
open to mechanized and motorized use. Finally, about 16,000 acres
of federal land would be sold to private interests in Custer County
at bargain-basement prices, about $625 an acre. The land is mostly
in Blaine County, which is dominated by wilderness-friendly Sun
Valley and Ketchum, but also is found in Custer County, where
residents generally oppose wilderness, explains the Idaho Mountain Express (July 30).
This may be the best
thing to come along in a generation, say some environmental
advocates. They note that three previous wilderness proposals have
died. "If the moment passes, it is passed for a long time," said
Geoff Pampush, executive director of The Nature Conservancy-Idaho.
"If it passes, both (Custer) County loses and the wilderness
Also at the table is the
Blue Ribbon Coalition, which is representing mountain bikers as
well as motorized users.
Portable toilets become
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. A company in
Jackson Hole is offering a distinctly upscale alternative to the
portable toilets commonly seen on the edge of special
Macy's Services offers a
24-foot-long trailer that has oak toilet seats, brass toilet paper
holders, and oak-trimmed walls, as well as porcelain sinks, faux
marble walls, and even air conditioning. Cost is $2,000 per day.
The trailer, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide (July
30), has been used repeatedly at local functions for the past two
Industry bothers Basalt
BASALT, Colo. The clinking, clanking,
clanging and banging at a manufacturing plant in Basalt is sure
evidence that the construction economy in the Colorado high country
has turned around. But for residents of a nearby subdivision, the
second shift of activity is becoming intolerable, reports The
Aspen Times (July 31).
The firm fabricates metal beams and components used in
construction projects, and business this summer warranted the
addition of a second shift of production, lasting until 1 a.m.
Residents of the nearby 84-home subdivision knew they bordered a
light industrial zone when they purchased homes, but were surprised
by the swing shift that produced, in the words of one, "incessant
Chinese torturous beep, beep, beep warning sound of forklifts
While the manufacturer insists he's within the law, residents
insist something must be done because they paid big money for their
properties. That leaves it up to the town government to craft a
peaceful solution. Town manager Tom Baker said this problem doesn't
mean the hodgepodge of zoning in Basalt is a mistake, but that
creative solutions are needed to accommodate everyone.
Wildfires rage in Canadian
BANFF, Alberta Forest fires were
raging across Alberta and British Columbia as August
In Alberta, the Kootnay
Park Lodge was sandwiched between towering walls of flames, but
fire crews using helicopters were able to draw the fire away from
the wooden building. The good news for the 80-year-old lodge,
reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook (Aug. 6), is that fires
during the last three years have virtually surrounded the lodge,
meaning there's unlikely to be any cause for worry for a
Across the Continental Divide, said the Revelstoke Times
Review (Aug. 6), British Columbia baked in continuing
30-degreeplus (86 degree Fahrenheit) heat as the sun beat down from
a cloudless sky, pushing the fire hazard in the forests into the
extreme range and holding it there."
To the west, in Whistler, Pique newsmagazine (Aug. 8)
reported the "worst forest-fire crisis in provincial history." At
nearby Sun Resorts, cigarettes were banned, even on golf courses,
except in special designated spots. Firefighters were battling 350
blazes across the province.
Lighting strikes Teton
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. A lightning strike
near the summit of the Grand Teton left one woman dead and various
others among the party of 13 climbers badly injured, one of them
The rescue that was
subsequently executed was described by a 30-year climbing ranger at
Grand Teton National Park, Tim Kimbrough, as possibly "the most
spectacular rescue in the history of American mountaineering in
terms of numbers of people being extricated and the way the
helicopters worked and how fast the boys did it."
The climbers had started
relatively late, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide (July 30), and at mid-afternoon were
still short of the summit when a storm arrived. The blast left one
climber severely injured, clothing melted to his wrist as he
dangled upside down in his harness. Barely conscious, he only
moaned when his name was called during the 3.5 to 4-hour
Alerted by a cell phone
call from the climbers, park authorities dispatched two
helicopters, which set down climbing rangers on the peak. Part of
the rescue was a retrieval of the injured man into a litter, which
was then dangled from a helicopter that lowered him 6,000 feet to
the base of the mountain, a climbing ranger clipped into the
dangling rope at his side. That daring operation may have saved his
Eagle spotlight goes into
EAGLE, Colo. Hundreds of television
reporters and technicians as well as scores of print reporters were
there, some from as far away as London and Tokyo. There were also
tourists and locals who showing up at the Eagle County Justice
Center, some with " painted on their foreheads.
All of this for a
10-second glimpse of Kobe Bryant at his arraignment on charges of
raping a 19-year-old Eagle woman that, and to see and to be seen.
For former classmates of the woman, offers have been thick for
fleeting fame and notoriety. Several have been flown to New York to
appear on national television, and there is a great deal of talk
about the money to be had.