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Does Breckenridge ski area need more terrain?

Forest Service holds July 7 Front Range open house on proposed expansion

Breckenridge Ski Area.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Front Range skiers and riders will have a chance to learn more about the proposed Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge Ski Area next week, when the U.S. Forest Service holds an open house at the regional office at 740 Simms Street in Golden (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.).

Forest Service personnel will be available to discuss the draft environmental study for the project. White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams will make a presentation at 5 p.m. to describe the goals of the project and the alternatives discussed in the draft environmental impact statement. The meeting will also include information on how to comment on the proposal. The public comment period for the DEIS has been extended through August 9. Background and detailed stories on Peak 6 are online here.

The Forest Service is holding a site visit to the Breckenridge Ski Resort July 14 to look at the expansion area. Anyone planning to participate in this third opportunity to learn more about the Breckenridge Ski Resort Peak 6 Project, should RSVP to Shelly Grail at 970-262-3484 or via email to sgrail@fs.fed.us.

The DEIS along with information on other public participation activities is available at www.BreckenridgePeak6.com or at www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver (navigate to “Land & Resource Management” and then to “Projects”).

Questions regarding the open house or the Breckenridge Ski Resort Peak 6 environmental should be directed to Joe Foreman, Dillon Ranger District Winter Sports Administrator, at 970-262-3443.

Breckenridge ski resort officials claim the expansion will alleviate peak-day crowding without increasing total skier visits. The resort wants to add a new lift on Peak 6 and cut more than a hundred acres of new trails through high-elevation spruce and fir forests. The expansion would also include a few hundred acres of terrain above treeline.

The expansion has been controversial in Breckenridge since it was introduced a few years ago. Many people reject the claim that the expansion won’t result in a net increase in skier visits. The initial proposal triggered an avalanche of critical comments from residents worried about environmental and social impacts. Subsequently, a community task force was convened to try and resolve some of the concerns.

The resort has committed to capping its expansion plans with the Peak 6 project unless further expansion is requested by the community.

As part of the environmental study, the Forest Service shaped a scaled-down version of the expansion, with less impact to the mostly untouched forests and more of an emphasis on making improvements within the resort’s existing footprint.

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