Expansion diminishes environment and skiing | AspenTimes.com

Expansion diminishes environment and skiing

Dear Editor:

I am appalled that the U.S. Forest Service is allowing Aspen Skiing Co. to take advantage of a weakness in the Colorado Roadless Rule as opposed to honoring the Clinton-era roadless rule.

They are planning to build a 30-foot- wide road out of Burnt Mountain so skiers of this out-of-bounds area won’t get lost on their way back in. They also plan to “glade the area,” i.e., cut down hundreds of trees and create large swaths of open terrain (which will increase avalanche danger) to link the runs.

The federal rules would protect Burnt Mountain as a roadless area and save this sensitive area for the lynx and elk calving. The last environmental impact study was 20 years ago, but a representative of the Forest Service, Scott Fitzwilliams, stated in the press that since so much time and money was already invested in this project, they will allow it to move forward without further delay.

There are a lot of local people who do not want this project to move forward (and maybe some of them do just want to keep the skiing experience special and really can find their way out just fine). There is also an environmental group fighting to save this sensitive, wild place, but I guess if you put enough money into a project, you can buy your result.

It is a shame we will lose this amazing area just to create a little more intermediate skiing terrain for Skico.

Mark Billingsley


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