FRISCO — Barring legal action, Breckenridge Ski Area could start implementing the controversial Peak 6 expansion as soon as early December after regional Forest Service officials rejected an appeal filed by a coalition of conservation groups, skiers and local residents. Read the appeal here.
Scott Armentrout, Supervisor of the Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Grand Mesa National Forests, the appeal reviewing officer, wrote Nov. 14 that he found that the approval for the project did not violate any federal laws, regulations or policies and recommended upholding White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams’ decision to approve the 550-acre expansion.
The formal decision was made by appeals deciding officer Brian Ferebee, a deputy regional forester for resources. Read the full appeal decision here, and a summary of the appeal decision here.
BRECKENRIDGE — The proposed Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge Ski Area is turning into a high country version of Goldilocks, with the new lift and trails being either too big, too small or just right, depending on who you listen to.
For White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, who started a town council session on Peak 6 with a brief outline of the plan, the resort’s proposal to add 550 acres and a six-seat lift best meets the need to disperse crowds across the busy ski area — that’s why he chose it as the preferred alternative mid-way through an exhaustive environmental review process.
SUMMIT COUNTY — While Vail Resorts may claim that Peak 6 has always been allocated for lift-served skiing, the U.S. Forest Service at one point proposed limiting Summit County ski areas to their existing boundaries.
And an unprecedented boundary adjustment that affected both the Breckenridge Nordic Center and Breckenridge Ski Area also helped set the stage for the current expansion proposal on Peak 6.
The preferred alternative (Alternative D) in a draft version of the White River National Forest plan released in the late 1990s under then-forest supervisor Martha Ketelle would have taken Peak 6 out of the ski area prescription. That proposal was based in part on concern about impacts to natural resources. At the time, the EPA was very involved in the forest plan revision as a cooperating agency.
In early comments on the plan, the EPA was very specific about outlining its concerns. Even though the ski industry likes to claim that its footprint is relatively small when compared to the overall size of the White River National Forest, the EPA said ski area development has the single-largest impact to alpine tundra. Continue reading “Breckenridge: Some Peak 6 history”→
SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s sometimes tough to wade through the bureaucratic language used by government officials, and the most recent update on the Peak 6 expansion plan at Breckenridge is no exception. It’s one thing to use precise language with descriptive terms and commonly accepted definitions — that helps ensure that everyone in the conversation is on the same page.
It’s another thing to use confusing phrases that might mislead readers and obscure the real issues. There was no author identified for the Peak 6 memo included in the town council packet, but it has the feel of being written by committee, and doesn’t do much to illuminate what’s at stake. It’s full of passive clauses and three-syllable words where one-syllable words would be just fine.
Agreement addresses parking, traffic and housing impacts of ski area expansion, which is still under Forest Service review
By Bob Berwyn
BRECKENRIDGE — After more than a year of work by a collaborative community task force, the Breckenridge Town Council this week unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Breckenridge Ski Resort aimed at addressing social and socio-economic impacts of a proposed ski area expansion. Click here to read the full text of the agreement.
The agreement is intended to avoid negative impacts to the local employee housing market, the availability of health and human services, and parking and transportation infrastructure — all so-called quality of life issues that were identified in an outpouring of public comments when the resort first proposed the expansion a couple of year ago. Continue reading “Breckenridge council approves Peak 6 deal”→