Forest Service looking to ensure long-term viability of ski areas
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — In comments submitted to the U.S. Forest Service, the National Ski Areas Association is suggesting a fresh start in developing a policy to determine ownership and future use of water that originates on national forest lands.
“Our new approach assumes that all previous water clauses are no longer in effect, null and void, and unenforceable. It would result in a consistent water policy across the board going forward,” said NSAA policy director Geraldine Link.
The ski industry comments came as the Forest Service held a series of hearings around the West in the early stages of developing a new water rights clause that eventually will become part of agency permits for businesses operating on public lands.
The ski industry and the Forest Service have been at odds over water rights for years, and most recently faced each other in federal court over a 2011 version of the permit language. The court said that the Forest Service failed to follow required procedures in rewriting the clause, and also noted that the agency has adopted a series of clauses that aren’t being applied consistently. Continue reading