I have come to your town every year on the way to Stanley, and my wife and I have visited the Wood River Valley since 1987. Recently, the proposed six-story Marriott portfolio hotel has come to my attention.

I may “just” be a seasonal tourist, but I do believe I have witnessed the valley’s many stages of evolution over the last 30 years to make this recommendation.

Waivers or not, a new hotel is absolutely wrong for Ketchum. Occupancy rates are falling across the West and Airbnbs are taking over. We are in a new economy that is built on sharing and novelty. Why build something new when you can’t fill your existing rooms?

I would like to propose to you 

five better uses of the River Street

site that would honor what it means

to call Ketchum “home,” or in our case, “home away from home”:

  • An educational planetarium to honor Ketchum’s very special Dark Sky Reserve membership.
  • A nature museum with taxidermied wildlife exhibits. That can’t be too hard with so many local collectors.
  • A multi-story aquarium or greenhouse.
  • A state-of-the-art indoor bouldering gym for serious rock climbers.
  • A kids museum. It seems like some kids in Ketchum don’t have much to do these days besides go to the skate park.

Ron Campbell, Salem, Ore.

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