Author Topic: Breckenridge Ski Resort Multi-Season Recreation Projects EIS  (Read 1254 times)

Offline Peter Vahry

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Breckenridge Ski Resort Multi-Season Recreation Projects EIS
« on: February 08, 2014, 06:46:34 pm »
White River National Forest; Summit County, CO; Breckenridge Ski
Resort Multi-Season Recreation Projects EIS

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: Breckenridge Ski Resort (BSR) has submitted a proposal to the
White River National Forest (WRNF) to pursue approval of proposed
projects included in its 2013 Master Development Plan (MDP) Addendum.
The WRNF has accepted this proposal, and is preparing an Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze and disclose the potential
environmental effects of implementing the projects. The Proposed Action
is a range of projects designed to improve year-round recreation
opportunities and better meet the changing needs and expectations of
visitors to Breckenridge and the WRNF. The proposal hopes to better
support a year-round economy in Breckenridge and Summit County by
providing a diversity of attractions and outdoor activities that would
attract visitors to the area. By providing a greater variety of
activities and a longer season to visit BSR, the proposed educational
and recreational opportunities would connect a more diverse group of
visitors to our National Forest and the outdoors.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received
by March 12, 2014 The Draft EIS is expected to be available for public
review in the Fall/Winter of 2014 and the Final EIS is expected in the
Spring/Summer of 2015.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest
Supervisor, c/o Roger Poirier, Project Leader, 120 Midland Ave, Suite
140, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601; FAX (970) 945-9029 or electronically

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Additional information related to the
proposed project can be obtained from: Roger Poirier, Project Leader,
120 Midland Ave, Suite 140, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601. Mr. Poirier can
be reached by email at
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD)
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    Purpose and Need for Action: Summer recreational opportunities have
been offered at BSR since the 1970s. These opportunities are, and
continue to be, important to BSR and its guests, in providing outdoor
recreation activities in the National Forest in a comfortable setting.
The current summer guest experience at BSR is primarily defined by more
developed activities on private lands and dispersed activities on
National Forest System (NFS) lands. Specific to the activities on NFS
lands within the BSR SUP area, guests primarily participate in lift-
served and non-lift-served hiking and mountain biking via the Colorado
SuperChair and trails dispersed across Peaks 7, 8 and 9.
    Through ongoing, year-round tourism growth, BSR is becoming a
summer destination for guests primarily from the United States, and
from Colorado in particular. In both winter and summer, BSR caters to a
broad spectrum of guests of all ages, abilities, and experience with
the outdoors. Since 2010 the Peak 8 Fun Park (located on private
lands), which includes an alpine slide, a coaster, mini-golf, and other
activities, has experienced approximately 18 percent annual growth in
its summer activity usage. The proposed projects would complement these
current activities by offering an even broader range of passive and
active recreation opportunities in the Forest to engage visitors.

[[Page 7641]]

    The philosophy for BSR's summer program on NFS lands is based on
the premise that the National Forests are, and have always been, the
greatest opportunity for guests to use and enjoy public lands. The
summer program goal is to introduce guests to the White River National
Forest and encourage outdoor recreation and enjoyment of nature. BSR
desires to provide a fun recreational experience while reducing the
barriers that can be associated with recreating in a mountain
    Over the past several decades, summer recreation activities have
evolved to include a significant variety of activities and user
experiences. Likewise, recreational use in the National Forests has
evolved beyond the traditional activities and solitude-seeking
experiences such as hunting, fishing, camping or hiking.
    There is a desire to not only provide new experiences for current
Forest users but to provide opportunities that will engage new users to
visit and experience NFS lands. Currently at BSR, there is a lack of
recreational opportunities that provide:
     Adventure or thrill-based experiences that require little
specialized knowledge, skills, equipment or familiarity with the
mountain environment--elements which can be a barrier for visitors
(e.g. families, the elderly/aging, or those with disabilities) desiring
to engage in outdoor activities;
     Activity-based interaction with a forested, mountain
environment in a controlled setting, offering an opportunity for users
to interact with and learn about nature;
     Human-powered, active recreational experiences that cater
to all ability levels; and
     Interpretive programs that offer an educational experience
for users seeking to learn more about the environment.
    There is a need for recreational and learning opportunities on
public lands that include passive, active and interactive forms of
recreation to provide this comprehensive range of user experiences.
    In addition, there is a need for adequate access and support
service infrastructure (e.g. roads, support buildings, restaurants) to
meet current and anticipated summer use at BSR.
    The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011
(SAROEA) provides authority for mountain resorts operating on NFS lands
to offer an expanded range of outdoor recreation activities in order to
further recreational opportunities for the public, allow year-round
utilization of existing resort facilities and stimulate job creation
and economic growth within local communities. The proposed projects
align with the intent of SAROEA.
    Proposed Action: The Proposed Action includes the following
seventeen elements, identified below. A full description of each
element can be found at:
     Improve natural aesthetic look and feel of the Vista Haus
and Independence SuperChair Summit Site Plan with landscaping, access
pathways, signage, and possible road realignments.
     Install the Sawmill Zip Line from a location south of the
top terminal of the Peak 8 SuperConnect to its endpoint near the top
terminal of the Snowflake lift.
     Install the Peak 7 Zip Line from a location near the top
terminal of the Independence SuperChair to its endpoint near the Peak 7
base area.
     Install the Sawmill Canopy Tour from a location near the
Vista Haus to an endpoint along Four O'Clock ski trail. The canopy tour
would utilize a series of approximately nine zip lines and ten canopy
tour stations.
     Install the Ore Bucket Canopy Tour from a location just
west (uphill) of the Independence SuperChair to the Angels Rest ski
trail and the 7/8 Access Road on Peak 7. The canopy tour would utilize
a series of approximately 9 zip lines and 10 stations.
     Install the Claimjumper Canopy Tour on Peak 7 near the
upper 1/3 portion of the Independence SuperChair and Claimjumper ski
trail. BSR will complete the layout of this canopy tour and provide the
information to the Forest Service for analysis in the Draft EIS.
     Construct two challenge courses featuring a series of
wooden columns, platforms and rope walkways/bridges adjacent to the
Vista Haus on Peak 8 with one course geared towards children under 10
and a second for older guests.
     New and Realigned Mountain Bike Trails and Skills Courses
are proposed on Peak 7 to connect to and expand on the existing trail
network on Peak 8 and 9. The proposal includes the creation of beginner
skills courses on Peak 7 and 8.
     Construct approximately 2 miles of new dispersed and
guided hiking trails, including way-finding and interpretive sites.
     Initiate new off-highway vehicle tours on existing and
proposed roads for additional sightseeing opportunities.

     Realign Four O'Clock Road to remove the excessive grade by
adding switchbacks and adding roughly half a mile of new roadway.
     Expand the Peak 7 Hut Deck/Building to add approximately
500 square feet to the building and expanded outside deck to better
provide space for guests and operations.
     Expand the Vista Haus Deck to add approximately 1,500
square feet on the south side of the lodge and would accompany the
construction of a climbing wall.
     Construct an observation tower on Peak 8 approximately 30
feet in height.
     Operate the existing Colorado SuperChair, Independence
SuperChair, 6 Chair and Imperial Express SuperChair for scenic lift
rides and activities access.

For the full notice....
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