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February 14, 2008

Luxury Versus Sustainability

This Ameya Preserve ad from the latest issue of The Big Sky Journal touts 1% for the Planet co-founder and Craig Matthews as Fly Fishing Academy Director for the property.

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Preserve developer, Wade Dokken who says,"It’s really a private national park that you can live in luxury in" once dismissed local opposition as,"class envy." The development has a fair number of critics who claim that Ameya Preserve is not all that its marketing would have you believe.     

I cannot see how a gated development of second-homeowners who will fly in and out on their private jets can be called sustainable or viewed as contributing to the health of our community. Via: The Ethicurean LINK

And what’s with the name, dude? You’re building roads, a massive lodge, and 300 homes in once-pristine landscape—just what, exactly, are you preserving?  Via: Outside Bozeman LINK

The Ameya Preserve subdivision will cause problems for wildlife and those problems will worsen if the state of Montana sells two square-mile sections of public land to Ameya developers, a state wildlife biologist maintains. Via: The Bozeman Daily Chronicle LINK

In this five-part series, writer David Nolt of New West explores the issues and controversy surrounding the Ameya Preserve.

There are some stories in the New West that seem to encompass many, if not all, the issues we are facing as an evolving region. One of those stories is the case of the Ameya Preserve, a large-scale luxury home community planned in Montana's Paradise Valley. Via: New West: LINK

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A strong comment from one of our readers on a previous Preserve post.  LINK

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Comments

I used to do similar work in the recreational real estate industry. So I speak with some knowledge of the subject.

SOME of these sorts of "preserve it by selling it as an outdoor playground for the wealthy" are GREAT. It is, for example, a great way to reclaim and preserve wetlands in farm country. Birding folks and waterfowl hunters are great stewards of these wetlands in most cases. And...in most cases...they would be filled in and developed or cultivated otherwise.

But building a big subdivision for the uber-rich in wildfire, elk, and grizzly bear country thinking you are preserving anything is just DUMB...or dishonest.

From what I'm reading (albeit a bit between the lines), Craig Matthews has secured the fly fishing outfitter role for this project. And I'm sure he will be donating 1% for the planet from his revenues. But that means there is still 99% exploitation going on. Most of it seems rather non-consumptive. But that doesn't make it wise. I wonder if 1% for the Planet will be getting 1% from all of the land sales, homebuilding, and concessionaire revenues generated by this development for the long haul?

And I've heard nothing about where these homes and businesses will get their WATER.

I applaud the ATTEMPT to do this with minimal impact and to be green about it. This is a BETTER direction in which some are moving. And we shouldn't be quick to toss out the baby with the bathwater. BUT...we should have already learned our lesson about building multi-million dollar mansions in wildfire and bear country.

I love when they use the pretty pictures to sell the property. The photo of the lush green fields with all the pretty moutains surrounding it is a great photo, but that piece of paradise only looks like that for at best three weeks of the year. The rest of the year it is brown or white. Developement is going to happen in our capitalistic society but when there are shady land swaps and selling off of public property than I started to question the validity of what the developer says.

"private national park"

wow, oxymoron-of-the-year and we're still in Q1.

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