Pandora’s expansion on Aspen Mountain showing its flaws
According to Aspen Skiing Co., approximately 400 trees were logged by Skico from the Richmond Hill/Aspen Mountain backcountry on June 1-2, during elk calving season to create the newly approved ski development (3-1 vote by the Board of County Commissioners) on the backside of Aspen Mountain —Pandora’s, the Skico developers call it.
CPW, the Colorado Wildlife Protection agency and the definitive agency in terms of impacts to wildlife, stated that construction should not occur within May 15 to June 30, because: “Due to the relative close proximity to the production area and the current condition of elk herds in the Upper Roaring Fork Valley, CPW would prefer if logging was halted until the end of June.” (“Skico.’s logging of Pandora’s terrain reopens debate on off-site impact,” Aspen Times, June 9, 2022)
Meanwhile the United States Forest Service, which actually testified and advocated for the expansion on the backside of Aspen Mountain in public hearings before the BOCC, did nothing in the face of helicopters flying within 1,000 feet of elk calving areas. Similarly, the BOCC did nothing.
We all realize our federal agencies are in serious peril in terms of their authority, particularly in terms of land preservation and wildlife protection. This is the latest example, locally. And, certainly, it will be “fun” for our aging local skiers and tourists to ski this backcountry expansion but at what cost? Similarly, the funding that went into promoting this venture, for fun and without consideration of the vast consequences of the expansion, seems to have been missed by this crowd.
At the end of the day, it’s the BOCC that approved the Pandora’s expansion and that’s the public entity that is showing up short in terms of its promises in that regard, which shouldn’t be blamed on the feds. Own it and fix it.
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