When my grandparents bought their ranch in Star Valley in the late 60’s, it never would have entered their minds that a temple would one day be built in Star Valley.
The town of Etna, the location of Nano and Poppy’s 360 acre Silver Aspen Ranch, is probably the smallest town in Star Valley. Etna’s population was around 200 residents thirty years ago and it hasn’t changed much. Afton is the largest town in Star Valley and it only has around 1200 residents.
Just beyond Etna about ten miles is Alpine Junction where the Snake River, the Salt River, and the Greys River meet. And, Jackson Hole, while not technically in Star Valley, keeps lots of tourists driving through Star Valley en route to Jackson Hole.
I’m anxious to find out the exact location for the Star Valley Temple. This terrain is my old stomping ground from childhood. My grandparents usually spent about half their week at the ranch and half in Salt Lake City. And most weeks, they’d stop by our house at the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, to see if any of the grandkids wanted to come along on any given week. During the summer months, we’d go up at a moment’s notice, tossing a few outfits into a bag and off we went.
My ranching memories of horses, cattle, fencing, and rodeos, were all formed in Star Valley. And certainly the coldest winters I ever spent were snowmobiling at the ranch in temperatures well below zero.
I loved President Monson’s big smile when he announced the Star Valley Temple and quipped that he’d plan to dedicate that temple since the Star Valley area has great fishing! It also has great people. Like my grandparents, residents of Star Valley are hard working, honest and authentic.
The Silver Aspen Ranch is still around and still owned by Nano and Poppy’s kids and grandkids (us!). Soon, with a temple nearby, we might have to visit the ranch more often!