Star Valley

Friendly folks are the star of the show

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If you want to know about the history of Star Valley, there may be no better person to ask than long-time resident Pat Cline, who grew up in the area when the total population was comprised of four families.

Just don't ask her about the Star Valley of the present and future.

"I don't know, and I'm too old to care," she grouses good-naturedly. "Where has it been? It's been fine. Where is it going? To hell. Where is it now? Almost there."

One thing that bothers Cline about Star Valley is that Star Valley isn't the area's actual name.

"There was an old man named Starr who moved here in about 1868. The place was referred to as 'Starr's Valley' he had two r's in his name. That's what it was called all of my life until the Forest Service stepped in and decided it was Star Valley for whatever reason. Who knows?"

Cline seems truly at a loss to come up with one good reason why anyone might want to live in Star ... er, Starr's Valley. But her husband, Raymond, has a quick answer:

"It gets us away from all those idiots on the town council in Payson."

Despite the pleasantly cantankerous outlook of the Clines, there are residents of Star Valley who wouldn't want to live anywhere else, and who are excited about its future.

Gary Hatch, the area's fire chief, has lived in Star Valley for 19 years. "We've gone from a little community with a handful of houses in 1980, to where we're at today which is almost what Payson was when I first moved here," he said.

"And I think that's a good thing. Growth is inevitable. If you try to fight or stop it, it's still gonna come, but it will be disorganized. If you plan for growth and are proactive about it, it can be a positive thing."

And no matter what, Hatch said his favorite Star Valley attraction will never change: the people who live there.

"Even though we've got a lot of newcomers, it's still a very friendly, tight-knit little community. There's a lot of children here now; when we first came here, our kids didn't have anyone to play with. Now there's children all over the place.

"Star Valley is just a nice place to live. It's a little bit slower than Payson, a little quieter, and we really like it. I hope to retire here and live here forever."

Seventeen-year resident Glen McCombs, the owner of the Plant Fair Nursery, said that when he first moved to Star Valley, "The road was just a two-lane highway, and it was just kind of an enjoyable, quaint little place. That's changed to a lot of houses, a four-lane highway, and a lot more people.

"But all that's not good or bad. It's bittersweet. We like it because we're in business, and it sure helps us in that respect. We did like Star Valley better when it was smaller, but it still has a small-town flavor."

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