In Summit County, Colo., where housing prices force ski area service workers into trailer parks and long commutes (HCN, 4/17/95), a national forest supervisor has proposed a solution. He is Sonny LaSalle, who says the Forest Service could offer some of its public land to ski areas or other local businesses to build low-cost rental units. The housing would be available in the summer to forest volunteers and in the winter to resort workers. LaSalle, who manages the White River National Forest, sent up the trial balloon at a housing conference.
Glenwood Springs welcomed the proposal, but not everyone
In a letter to the Glenwood Post,
resident Bob Richardson said, "Those employees are here commuting
and scratching around for housing of their own free will. Must we,
in effect, foul our own nest to accommodate them?"
Summit County Commissioner Joe Sands was also
skeptical, but for different reasons. When ski resort operators
claim they can't afford to build employee housing, says Sands, they
really mean they're saving their private land for luxury homes and
condominiums. "Ski areas will just lower salaries if (the Forest
Service) provides housing," warns Sands. "Why are we subsidizing
the profit margin of industrial tourism?"