Saving Burnt Mountain | AspenTimes.com

Saving Burnt Mountain

Dear Editor:The Aspen Skiing Co. is once again pushing the U.S. Forest Service to allow expansion of the Snowmass Ski Area onto Burnt Mountain. Burnt Mountain is the last undeveloped tract of public land between the Snowmass and Tiehack ski areas on the White River National Forest. It contains a roadless area that adjoins the Snowmass/Maroon Bells Wilderness.Skico tried to build ski runs on Burnt Mountain in the early 1980s and again in the early 1990s, each time met with massive public outcry. Last year Skico submitted a long list of ski area improvements, including three new ski runs into Burnt Mountain and a long egress traverse back to the main ski area.The Forest Service signed off on the Skico’s proposal this past spring. But local citizens and environmental organizations recognized what was happening and objected to the agency. The Forest Service withdrew its decision supporting the Skico’s proposal.Now the Forest Service has reissued the draft environmental assessment for public comment. The draft EA does not mention the Burnt Mountain roadless area or the years of controversy from the previous proposals.So now is the time to step up again and give support to saving Burnt Mountain. Any comments on this proposal must be e-mailed or postmarked by Aug. 26. Please e-mail them to Jim Stark: jstark@fs.fed.us, or mail them to Maribeth Gustafson, supervisor, WRNF, P.O. Box 948, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602.Kris SmithAspen

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