Late last year the U.S. Forest Service rejected Crested Butte’s master development plan for nearby Snodgrass Mountain, which would add 276 acres of skiing served by three lifts, a beginner carpet and a connector gondola from Crested Butte Mountain.
Shortly following the rejection of CBMR’s development plan, the resort filed an appeal with the U.S. Forest Service on Dec. 18, disputing the agency’s decision to reject the proposed expansion. That was followed by a May 6 decision by Deputy Regional Forester James Pena’s that affirmed Forest Supervisor Charlie Richmond’s refusal to consider the Snodgrass Mountain expansion proposal in a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process with public involvement.
Despite the setback, the operators of Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) asked U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to review the decision. According to a release from CBMR, Associate Deputy Chief for National Forest System Gloria Manning, as reviewing officer for Chief Tidwell, will review Deputy Regional Forester James Pena’s decision concerning the resort’s Snodgrass Mountain expansion proposal appeal. A decision from the reviewing officer is due within 30 days of the date of notice – June 14,2010. CBMR expects a decision by July 14, 2010.
CBMR asked Chief Tidwell to review the decision and set it aside based upon the issues identified in CBMR’s original appeal: “That the Forest Service did not follow its own regulations, and Forest Supervisor Richmond made a fundamentally unfair decision in a private process that violated federal law and excluded the public from a watershed public lands decision that determined the future of the ski area and the community.”
The original plan, approved by the Forest Service in 1982 but never built, included 417 acres of skiing served by 11 lifts, 162 acres of snowmaking and a large on-mountain dining facility. Since then, the plan has been scaled back and is focused on providing more intermediate terrain to bolster what’s currently available at the main mountain.
Stay tuned here for further developments as CBMR awaits Chief Tidwell’s decision in mid-July. For more information about the Snodgrass Mountain expansion, including a history and FAQs, go to www.snodgrassfacts.com.
The proposed trail plan for Snodgrass Mountain. Advanced trails are labeled yellow, intermediate trails are blue and beginner slopes are green. Crested Butte’s main mountain is just to the right and slightly outside this close-up view.