Star Valley residents were both stunned and surprised as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the future construction of a temple site in Star Valley, Wyoming. According to the LDS Church, there are currently 135 temples in operation with 13 more under construction and 18 that have been announced to be built in the future. With so many differing locations for these buildings, it is a rare occasion for such a facility to be built in such a rural area. With the lack of one centralized incorporated town, Star Valley will almost certainly be the world’s smallest population to boast such an addition. Some recent smaller population areas to add a temple include Snowflake, Ariz., with a population of between 5,500 and 6,000 residents and Vernal, Utah which has just over 9,000 citizens. The largest town in Star Valley is Afton with a population of just over 1,800. According to Ken Bassett, City Manager for Vernal, the temple will likely bring an under appreciated positive impact to the area in a variety of ways.
As well as adding to the LDS Church’s overall total, the Star Valley temple will be the first such structure within the State of Wyoming. Currently, members of the LDS faith travel outside of the Cowboy State to attend the temple. Some of the closest to the border include Billings, Mont., Logan, Utah, Idaho Falls, Idaho and Rexburg, Idaho. A temple is currently under construction in Fort Collins, Colo., which would make it the closest to the border in terms of mileage until the Star Valley site is completed.