Breckenridge expansion plan puts mining claim in play
August 1, 2008
BRECKENRIDGE SKI AREA ” The proposal to develop skiing on Peak 6 at Breckenridge has prompted a northern Colorado resident to market a 10-acre mining claim he owns between the existing trails on Peak 7 and the planned new runs on Peak 6.
Robert Sasick of Bellevue, who acquired the land in 1962, said he put the land up for sale on a website after attending a January meeting on the Peak 6 plan. The mining claim is surrounded by White River National Forest lands under permit to Vail Resorts.
According to the website (www.peak6goldmine.com), one corner of the parcel is about 1,500 feet away from the lower terminal of the proposed Peak 6 lift, with the closest Peak 7 run about 300 feet away.
A short section of Cucumber Creek running through the land.
The land is zoned as backcountry, which sets strict limits on access and the size of any development on the property.
For the 10-acre chunk on Peak 6, the biggest house allowed under current zoning would be 1,200 square feet.
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Another option would a rezoning request, said Summit County planning director Jim Curnutte.
But access to the site could present a challenge, Curnutte said, explaining that the county wouldn’t issue a building permit until the property owner shows that he has a U.S. Forest Service special-use permit for access.
That process would include a full environmental study to determine the best access route to ensure “reasonable use and enjoyment of the property,” according to Paul Semmer, a land specialist with the Dillon Ranger District.
The agency is obligated by federal law to provide access to inholdings, and those discussions would include proposed uses for the property, Semmer said.
The Forest Service would be interested in acquiring the inholding, Semmer said, explaining that the parcel is identified as suitable for acquisition by the agency’s land ownership adjustment analysis. The parcel could potentially be conveyed through a land trade, he said.
The agency has had the parcel on its maps for many years, at least since Breckenridge Ski Area first proposed lift-served skiing on Peak 7, Semmer said.
Sasick said he rejected a Vail Resorts offer for the parcel several years ago and decided to look for a marketing company to help him sell the land to the highest bidder after he heard about the Peak 6 development plan.
“They’ve pretty much ignored me … I think maybe they’re hoping I’ll go away,” Sasick said.
Based on the scoping maps for the Peak 6 project, the private parcel wouldn’t affect plans for new lifts and trails in the area. An access trail running from Peak 7 to Peak 6 would skirt one end of the mining claim.
“I’ve owned the land since 1962,” Sasick said via e-mail this week. “If I am not satisfied with the marketing company proposal, I’ll take the next step. I’m not in any hurry (as you can tell by how long I have owned the property), and in the mean time, if I kick the bucket, my kids can have fun trying to outwit each other about what to do with it.”
The Summit County open-space program also has been involved in buying backcountry inholdings around the county, but Sasick said he doesn’t think he would get a fair price from the county.
“I would like to see somebody with huge pockets come in who could just play with it. I’m at the point where I’m pretty skeptical of what goes on at planning commissions, where you have to go hat-in-hand,” Sasick said.