Dear editor:
I’m not a real long timer here (14 years), just a nature and art lover, and I find Idyllwild a special place with a wonderful community. We’re lucky to have clean air, light traffic, a variety of wildlife, wonderful people, numerous restaurants and all that the arts community and businesses offer.
I do have big concerns however, if Idyllwild continues to have a growing tourist industry. “Big storm hitting the hill”, TC Dec. 16, mentions 12.1 inches of rain in 2021, 15.8 inches in 2020, a trend that is much below the 20-year average of 21.6 inches. Climate change promises much more severe and prolonged drought than we have seen yet.
So, is it smart to promote more tourist growth, more Airbnb’s/STRs and new construction projects while our water supply is “questionable”? What good will our magnificent arts be if we have no water?
Truthfully, we could easily lose our forests (already happening), impacting the entire ecosystem and community. It has been said that having more STRs will help alleviate our shortage of long-term rentals. Really?
That is similar to what Los Angeles said about building more freeways to alleviate traffic. More STRs will only allow for more tourists which will impact our resources even more.
I appreciate David Hunt’s letter to the editor, and right-on thoughts and facts concerning this issue, and for mentioning the strain being placed on our aging wastewater treatment plant, along with the increase in sewage and potential contaminates to underground water supplies.
According to the Desert Sun (Oct. 24, 2021) Idyllwild has nearly half of all registered short-term rentals in all of Riverside County. I have nothing against STRs if the county puts a cap on the number allowed that is sustainable. Continued growth puts pressure on our resources and we will all experience impacts to our quality of life.
Is it wise to build swimming pools or additional hotels? What a surprise, an additional motel or apartments is planned for Idyllwild, according to the Feb. 3 TC.
When is enough, enough? When do we make decisions based on long-term sustainability and not just the quick profit? I, for one, do not want our lovely town to develop into a “Big Bear-like” community. We need to be wise and keep “Idy Wild.”
Frank Baele