Controversial plan reached top levels of Forest Service, ski industry and Congress
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service is sticking with its decision to deny an expansion of Crested Butte Mountain Resort on to nearby Snodgrass Mountain.
Deputy Regional Forester James M. Peña announced his decision in a May 6 letter to the resort owners, saying the record is full of contradictory evidence regarding the merits of the plan, and said that Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnision National Forest Supervisor Charlie Richmond, who initially denied the expansion plan, “(D)id not violate law, regulation, or agency policy nor was it arbitrary or capricious, and was fully within his broad discretionary authority.”
See the entire letter in a Scribd.com window at the end of the story.
Peña also said he is requiring Richmond to provide guidance on how Crested Butte “should submit a proposal to provide downhill skiing in the context of (forest plan) direction that the authorized officer would find acceptable,” or to initiate a revision of the plan to modify the ski area zoning for the area.
The resort and Forest Service worked for years on the plan to add intermediate terrain to the resort known for its extreme runs. The Snodgrass plan would have also opened up the potential for new base area development on private land. The proposal split the Crested Butte community along classic lines, with some residents advocating for more development, while others emphasized the preservation of natural resources.
The owners of Crested Butte, Tim and Diane Mueller, also were part of a plan years ago to develop a new resort, Catamount, near Steamboat Springs. That project also did not go smoothly.
The Crested Butte proposal drew national attention, as U.S. Senator Mark Udall weighed in, and a state ski industry groups blasted the Forest Service for rejecting the expansion plan without first subjecting it to a detailed environmental study.
Filed under: public lands, ski industry, Ski Resorts, skiing and riding, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | Colorado ski industry, Colorado skiing, Crested Butte, ski area expansions, ski industry, Snodgrass Mountain, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, US Forest Service