Commenting about Golden Peak? To make it count, comment to the Forest Service, not each other on social media | VailDaily.com

Commenting about Golden Peak? To make it count, comment to the Forest Service, not each other on social media

VAIL — If you want to comment on Vail's proposed Golden Peak expansion, then you must speak your piece to the Forest Service.

Trolling social media comment sections does not count as a comment.

Written comments to the U.S. Forest Service do count.

Both supporters and detractors have been firing shots across one anothers' metaphorical bows on social media sites. That's one way to fill your time, but it won't influence the decision.

"For a comment to be officially submitted and for the commenter to have standing in the objection process, they need to submit the comment to the Forest Service via one of the official methods," explained Kate Jerman, public affairs officer with the White River National Forest.

The comments should be specific and provide substantial information the Forest Service can use, said Marcia Gilles with the Forest Service.

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For instance, "I don't like it," or "I love it" are not particularly useful.

"We look for issues to resolve and gaps in the analysis," Gilles said.

Here's the plan

In the crosshairs is a Vail Resorts proposal to add 42 acres of race training at the top of Golden Peak. A surface lift — probably a T-bar — will thread through the cut above Golden Peak that was mistakenly made in the mid 1960s. There will be no lift towers, Gilles said during an open house Tuesday, April 10, at the Minturn Forest Service office.

Supporters flocked to Tuesday's open house.

The race training expansion will take racers off of other runs on that part of Vail Mountain and open them to the public. The project will also meet all the requirements for international downhill races, Gilles said.

Vail Resorts submitted the plan about a year ago. The Forest Service said it fits within the ski company's permitted uses.

Comment through May 21

The Forest Service "highly encourages" commenting online because it's easier to track. However, there are multiple ways to comment, Jerman said.

Go to Golden Peak Improvements on the White River National Forest website. On the right side of that page is a tab to "Comment/Object on Project." Unlike most social media, they need your name and address and phone number if you expect to be taken seriously.

You can email comments to project lead Max Forgensi at mforgensi@fs.fed.us.

You can mail a handwritten comment or word-processed/typed comments to:

Golden Peak Draft EIS, Scott Fitzwilliams, c/o Max Forgensi, Mountain Sports/Special Uses Administrator, White River National Forest, P.O. Box 0190, Minturn, CO 81645.

You can also hand deliver your comments to the Forest Service Office in Minturn.

Comments will be accepted through Monday, May 21.

Fitzwilliams is expected to make a decision about the project's fate later this fall.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.