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Ski industry sues Forest Service over water rights

A water-rights showdown between the U.S. Forest Service and the ski industry is looming in federal district court.

NSAA claims illegal takings; agency says it wants to ensure long-term viability of ski area operations

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The veneer of partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the ski industry cracked this week under the weight of a serious disagreement over water rights.

The National Ski Areas Association Monday filed a lawsuit try and block the agency from changing permit language relating to the ownership of water rights associated with the development and operation of ski areas under federal permit.

At stake are millions of dollars worth of water rights that originate on national forest system lands. A dispute over the ownership of those water rights has been simmering since the 1980s, when the Forest Service developed permit language requiring resorts to assign ownership of certain water rights to the federal government. Continue reading

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