EAGLE – A Vail Resorts proposal to add summer activities to its Vail Mountain ski area is nearing a second public comment period when the White River National Forest Service publishes its draft environmental impact statement around September.
Eagle County commissioners met with White River National Forest representatives last week in anticipation of the permitting process for Vail Resorts’ proposal.
District Ranger Dave Neely assured commissioners that the county would be included on the process.
“There is a built-in opportunity for the county to provide input in this process,” he said. “We take input from elected community representatives very seriously.”
The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 allows ski areas to add activities besides skiing to their special use permits on Forest Service land. However, skiing has to remain the primary activity on the land.
“There are some things that are specifically not allowed, such as golf courses, there are some things that don’t require an EIS and then there are activities that are subject to review to determine if they are acceptable,” Neely said.
According to Forest Service Mountain Resorts Administrator Don Dressler, Vail Resorts already has approval for four zip lines and two ropes challenge courses.
“It’s key that the activities are outdoors and natural-resource based,” Dressler said.
As posted on the Forest Service website dedicated to the project – VailRecEIS.info – the proposed activities currently under consideration include:
Educational opportunities and interpretive information.
Game Creek Canopy Tour.
Front Side Canopy Tour.
Adventure Ridge Forest Flyer.
Pride Express Forest Flyer.
Rappel activity at Adventure Ridge.
Expanded hiking and mountain bike trails.
Riparian experience at Adventure Ridge.
Family Forest Park at Adventure Ridge.
Modified horse trail in Game Creek Bowl.
Observation decks and towers at Adventure Ridge and Wildwood.
Reconfigured Talon’s deck and barbecue area at Eagles Nes.t
Wedding Deck at The 10th
“Right now, the website only has the proposal and maps,” Dressler said. “We’ve had an initial round of public comment and the next public comment period will start with the draft EIS which comes out in September.”