Friends of Battle Mountain forms |

Friends of Battle Mountain forms

Bret Hartman/Vail DailyA recently formed grouped called Friends of Battle Mountain said it will serve as a watchdog as a developer plans a private ski resort south of Minturn.

MINTURN ” The potential development of a private ski resort near Pete Vance’s Minturn home prompted the town watchdog to ensure Bobby Ginn, the town and county are good stewards of the land.

So Vance joined Friends of Battle Mountain, a growing group of nearly 60 people ” mostly Eagle County residents ” concerned about Ginn’s vision of 1,700 homes, skiing and golf on 5,300 acres of land on and around Battle Mountain, between Minturn and Red Cliff.

“I feel like we should be open as a community to what the rest of the county can give us for intelligent input to help see us through this development,” Vance said. “We are a small town and we have limited resources to facilitate this.”

Vance said he understands the economic benefits Ginn’s project might bring Minturn, so he refused to get involved with a group solidly opposed to development.

Rather than assume an anti-development stance, the group’s goal is neither support nor oppose Ginn, said Ryan Demmy Bidwell, co-organizer of Friends of Battle Mountain and director of the environmental group, Colorado Wild director.

Instead, the goal is to reflect the concerns of the group and spark public debate about how can best be developed, Bidwell said.

Still, the group’s Web site is titled “Friends of Battle Mountain: Opposition Building to Massive, High-Elevation Development South of Vail.”

In response, Ginn’s representatives said they are primarily concerned with Minturn residents, not Friends of Battle Mountain, said company spokesman Ryan Julison. Ginn has dealt with similar groups in past developments, Julison said.

“Some of these groups have legitimate concerns,” Julison said. “Some just oppose development.”

Friends of Battle Mountain is still forming, and discussion about Ginn’s project should intensify once the developer submits blueprints for the land, Bidwell said.

Bidwell said he questions whether Highway 24 ” Minturn’s main street ” can handle much more traffic.

The development of buildings, roads, open spaces, golf course and others might disturb pollutants in areas deemed a Superfund ” or polluted ” by the federal government. The concern is pollutants in excavated dirt reaching the Eagle River and harm or kill fish, bugs and other river life, Bidwell said.

Much of the Superfund site has been cleaned by the owner of the Eagle Mine, Viacom, and future cleanup is planned, Ginn officials have said.

Ginn and Minturn lack the water required to run the resort, and Ginn will therefore and have to look elsewhere for supplies, Bidwell said.

“It raises red flags where the water will come from and what impact that may have on other water users,” Bidwell said. “It is the responsibility of the public to ensure there is an effective water supply before development.”

Development of the valley floor south of Minturn might also squeeze out deer and elk ” an important draw for tourists and hunters ” avoiding harsh winter conditions at higher elevations, Bidwell said.

“They will likely be lost from that portion of the valley or at least heavily impacted,” Bidwell said.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or

Vail, Colorado

For more information or to join Friends of Battle Mountain, visit

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