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Billionaire's controversial guest-ranch approved by Sublette County commissioners

Sublette county sign on the prairie
Jimmy Emerson, DVM / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
The proposed luxury resort will be at the Jackson Fork Ranch which is in Bondurant -- a small town of 59 people based in Sublette County.

Billionaire and founder of TD Ameritrade, Joe Ricketts, received approval to build a high-end resort in Bondurant – a town of 59 people in Sublette County.

Last week, county commissioners overrode the local land-use plan and passed the rezoning request by a 3-2 vote. The change allows Ricketts to build a retreat on his 52 acres in Bondurant. The Jackson Fork Ranch proposal includes a 64-bedroom main building and eight guest cabins.

The proposal was previously voted down by the Sublette County Planning & Zoning Board, as well as the Commission, in 2020. The board voted it down again this year, but the commission ultimately passed it, citing the possibility of more money for the county.

Ricketts has said his vision for the resort is to expose urban folks to the rural, ranching lifestyle. Commissioner Doug Vickery, who voted 'no,' said Bondurant is a small, community-oriented town that has not changed much over the years, adding that the resort might not fit in.

"I'm in hopes that Mr. Ricketts takes into consideration all the feelings of both his neighbors and the rest of the county that has said, 'please don’t do this,' and pursues that appropriately," Vickery said, referring to the many people who opposed the project – citing environmental, rural lifestyle and economic concerns.

Meanwhile, others hope the project will boost the local economy that's been hurt by its declining oil and gas industry.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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