Company Tries To Hide Jackson’s Controversial ‘White Pimple’ Glamping Tents

The controversial glamping tents near Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s entrance that Gov. Mark Gordon dubbed “white pimples” are being camouflaged. Teton County officials say that doesn’t begin to cover up the many problems with them.

Renée Jean

May 12, 202411 min read

The glamping tents put up by Basecamp Hospitality in Teton County have been called by Gov. Mark Gordon "white pimples." Now the company is camouflaging them.
The glamping tents put up by Basecamp Hospitality in Teton County have been called by Gov. Mark Gordon "white pimples." Now the company is camouflaging them. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Basecamp Hospitality’s white geodesic domes near Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton County have been described by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon as “white pimples” on the landscape.

Those “pimples” just got some camouflage, with the company placing netting over the dozen or so glamping tents to make them less visible. Glamping refers to stepped-up, luxurious camping, often in a tent, but one that is large and spacious that features comfortable beds and other modern amenities.

Basecamp’s have been controversial because of their stark white canvas domes that some Jackson locals say are blots on the otherwise pristine northwest Wyoming landscape.

Gordon’s comment calling the glamping structures “white pimples” on state trust land were made last August during deliberations of the State Board of Land Commissioners. The board was deciding whether to allow Basecamp to apply for a liquor license and install gas fireplaces.

“They are white igloos that are standing like pimples on the landscape,” Gordon said then. “They are quite prominent and really quite ugly.”

Minutes later, Gordon would cast the lone “no” vote on the amendment, while his colleagues — Auditor Kristi Racines, Secretary of State Chuck Gray, Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder and Treasurer Curt Meier — all voted “yes.”

Basecamp CEO Jon Hooke confirmed that the camouflage netting is partly in response to Gordon’s comments.

“We have installed camouflage netting on the geodes to better blend in with the natural beauty that surrounds our location,” he told Cowboy State Daily in an email. “We are doing our best to be good neighbors in the community, so we opted to take this action in response to feedback from community members, as well as the governor.”

The governor’s office said Gordon was traveling and not available to comment on the matter.

Green Pimples No Better

  • Inside one of Basecamp Hospitality's high-end camping tents.
    Inside one of Basecamp Hospitality's high-end camping tents. (Basecamp Hospitality)
  • Geodesic domes covered in white provide a luxurious camping experience.
    Geodesic domes covered in white provide a luxurious camping experience. (Basecamp Hospitality)
  • Glamping tents at the base of the Tetons in affluent Teton County, Wyoming.
    Glamping tents at the base of the Tetons in affluent Teton County, Wyoming. (Basecamp Hospitality LLC)

Teton County Commission Chairman Luther Propst, however, has some thoughts about the situation. Among them, that the glamping tents are now just “green pimples” — which he would clearly like to see popped.

“I don’t mind the camouflage, but it doesn’t address the major issues that this development presents,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “We’re putting up a major lodging facility, on a septic tank, in the headwaters of an already impaired stream, that is an important economic asset for the county because of its fisheries.”

That’s a big issue in and of itself, Propst said, but it’s not even the biggest complaint he has with the facility.

“We have a situation here where the developer has failed to address basic human safety,” Propst said. “We are not addressing fire safety, and there’s nothing more fundamental to local government than ensuring the safety of people who rent a hotel room and people who have sworn to go in and fight a fire in that hotel room.

“I think it’s disgraceful that we have a situation in which we are not even addressing that basic, fundamental governmental priority of fire safety.”

Propst said the risk in that area is high, and that it is unconscionable that the facility has been allowed to skirt the standard fire safety inspection that other businesses permitted in Teton County are required to have.

“That’s known as the windy mile,” Propst told Cowboy State Daily. “That’s an area where a windstorm knocked down power lines five, seven years ago. And we’re putting in this kind of a structure? There’s just this risk of fire, and putting on camouflage netting doesn’t address that.”

Adding propane or gas tanks for fireplaces — such as what the State Board of Trust Lands allowed last August — is adding insult to that injury, Propst suggested.

“I so worry about structural fire,” he said. “I worry about wildfires starting there and then moving to Teton Village, because it’s a windy area. And I worry about the wastewater treatment further polluting our waters.”

Hook told Cowboy State Daily that Basecamp has worked with “designated regulatory bodies and engineers” and that the property “meets or exceeds international building code.”

He said they also worked closely with water specialists at Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, as well as their own environmental consultants, to protect the waterways in the area.

Wrong Look For A Resort

The scenic impact to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is another of the issues that Propst feels is troubling.

White pimples or green, Propst said the glamping tents are just not in the right place where they are, nor are some of the other things that the state has been allowing at the site.

“These are at the entrance to a premier, high-end ski destination in the United States,” Propst said. “And we’re putting these misplaced plastic geodesic domes. We’re putting self-storage units. The state has approved an incinerator. This is just not the way you treat the entrance to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Teton Village.”

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort generates $80 million to $85 million annually in revenue that gets transferred back to Wyoming, Propst said, and is a tremendous revenue source for school districts across the Cowboy State.

“Anyone who has questions about whether local land use decisions should be made in the county, or whether they should be made in Cheyenne, just needs to come and stand at (Highway) 390 and look at these uses and realize this is not the formula that has created economic prosperity in this county, and created property tax revenue and sales tax revenue that benefits the entire state,” he said.

“This is just a bad mistake,” he added. “The sooner the state erases that and starts over again, the better.”

Supreme Court Battle Brewing?

Basecamp Hospitality’s domes have been the subject of several lawsuits, one filed by Protect Our Water Jackson Hole, and another by Teton County, which wanted to force the facility to abide by the usual land use regulations that cover other developments in Teton County.

The commercialization of state trust lands followed on legislation in 2020 that sought to commercialize state trust lands to improve the value they are bringing to the state. The legislation requires the properties to be leased for fair market value in Wyoming, except in Teton County, where it requires the value to be “maximized.”

In Teton County, property values have reached the stratosphere with average single-family home prices exceeding $7 million, according to the latest quarterly Jackson Hole Real Estate Report from The Viehman Group.

Retired Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Michael K. Davis, acting as a district court judge in Laramie County District Court, issued a ruling that sides with the state May 6 — but he all but invited Teton County to appeal.

“The result in this case is troubling,” Davis wrote. “The court cannot shake the conviction that the board utilized temporary use permits to avoid (Teton County) and the board’s own regulations on it to comply with local land use regulations and procedures when it leases state trust land.”

But, Davis added, he had no remedy without further guidance from the Wyoming Supreme Court or from the executive or legislative branch.

Propst told Cowboy State Daily that Teton County is going to take Davis’ implied suggestion and file an appeal.

“I have rarely seen a decision that so explicitly invites the Supreme Court to reconsider the ruling,” Propst said. “The conclusion there says the result in this case is troubling. That’s pretty extraordinary language.”

The fact that Davis as a retired Wyoming Supreme Court justice gives the suggestion a lot of weight, Propst suggested.

“He’s made it clear that he supports the Supreme Court revisiting this law, and he states that the Legislature may want to revisit this requirement as well,” he said. “So, I feel like it’s going to be really interesting to see what the Supreme Court has to say.”

Lipstick On A Pig

State Sen. Mike Gierau, D-Jackson, told Cowboy State Daily he, too, sees the green camouflage netting as akin to putting lipstick on a pig.

“That’s not the dumbest thing I ever saw, but I guess it’s in the top three or four,” he said.

But the situation unfolding in front of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort isn’t limited to just Teton County, he added. There’s the whole gravel mining pit situation at the base of Casper Mountain that Gierau said also followed on the 2020 legislation.

“This process is totally screwed up,” he said. “Everyone in Casper knows it, everyone in Teton County knows it, every rancher knows it. And by virtue of reporting those two, everyone in the state should know it.”

Gierau believes everyone in the state, particularly those adjacent to state trust lands, should be concerned about what’s been taking place in Teton County with the Basecamp Hospitality tents and with the gravel mining pit proposed in Casper.

“There should be a process that should go through vigorous local participation,” Gierau said.

In the kind of process he envisions, local stakeholders would have a say and bring their own local knowledge to bear. That would help sort which parcels can be developed, which should be put into recreational use bins, and which should continue with present uses, like ranching.

“If you’re a rancher and you have a lease with OSLI (Office of State Lands and Investments) and it’s adjacent to a highway, that’s where you load your cattle,” Gierau said. “And then someone comes in and says, I want to nominate that to be sold off, because I want to build a truck stop there. They have to react to it, because that’s the rules.”

Rethinking, And The DNA Of Wyoming

But turning land adjacent to a ranch into a busy truck stop would turn a rancher’s world totally upside down, Gierau said.

“So, is that best way to deal with this?” Gireau asked. “I just don’t think it is, and I would submit that the people in Casper and the people in my county are living it right now. We’ve got developments on a property that’s inappropriate for what the surrounding uses are.”

Gireau said it’s something he’ll be talking about this summer in the Legislature’s Management Audit Committee.

“We’re going to take that up,” he said. “And I’m hoping that legislation from that committee, after hearing from OSLI, after hearing from the State Land Board, that maybe we can move forward together in embarking on such a planning effort.”

Otherwise, he feels that the staff of the Office of State Land Investment have been set up to fail.

“While I’m not happy with some of the things they do, I understand what they’re doing,” Gireau said. “They’re doing their job as it’s been relayed to them. I just think we should give them a new task, and that new task is to work on a master plan for these parcels.”

That master plan could take into account other values for the land besides just monetary, Gireau suggested.

“The constitution says we have to maximize the value of these for the children of Wyoming,” he said. “But what constitutes value? Is it just dollars? Maybe there are some other values, ranching interests, agricultural interests, that are in the DNA of Wyoming.”

Renée Jean can be reached at

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Renée Jean

Business and Tourism Reporter