McCoy Park development in Beaver Creek — speak now or forever hold your peace
Write your name, address, telephone number, organization represented (if any); 2) name of the proposal (Beaver Creek Resort — McCoy Park Terrain Development); and 3) specific facts and supporting reasons for consideration.
Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Max Forgensi, Mountain Sports Permit Administrator
White River National Forest
P.O. Box 190
Minturn, CO 81645
MINTURN — Comments were mostly favorable toward Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park Terrain Development plan at a U.S. Forest Service open house on Wednesday, May 9.
The plan aims to add 250 acres of skiable beginner terrain to the McCoy Park area of Beaver Creek, with two chairlifts, some snowmaking operations, a ski patrol service building and a new service road to the area near the top of the Strawberry Park Express lift at the resort’s southern boundary.
Nate Goldberg, Product Manager of the Nordic Sports Center at Beaver Creek, was among those in attendance in favor of the project. Goldberg knows the park well from working there.
“I think the plan re-imagines how to get people to the premier parts of the park,” Goldberg said.
Those premier areas, as described by Goldberg, are the higher-elevation, flatter terrain, which isn’t so easy to access for families on snowshoes. Those areas, under the new plan, would be serviced by chairlifts.
Goldberg said in his view, a “cooperative, collaborative Nordic-alpine area” would be best for McCoy Park.
Sally Gunter with Vail Resorts said that’s exactly what Beaver Creek has in mind.
“The Nordic portion of McCoy Park has always been an important park of our guests,” Gunter said. “We’ve got some good opportunity there to rethink how the zones are used.”
INITIAL SCOPING PERIOD
District Ranger Aaron Mayville said he talked to about 30 people at the Wednesday, May 9, open house.
“My expectation was it would be generally positive,” Mayville said. “That expectation was met.”
Mayville said those who showed concern were users of the park themselves.
“They like to showshoe, or they like to Nordic ski up there,” he said. “That’s why we designed the project like we have, to move that use.”
The project is currently in the initial scoping period, where comments are accepted prior to a full environmental assessment of its potential impacts.
“We will then use those comments to frame, built or alter our analysis,” Mayville said. “Once we’ve cataloged, qualified or quantified them, then we will do our analysis.”
The comments will likely take several weeks to go through, but the analysis itself may go quicker than usual due to the fact that a good bit of study on McCoy Park has already taken place.
“We’ll use the summer and the early fall to write the analysis report, then hopefully in the fall we’ll have a decision,” Mayville said.
The draft decision will be followed by an objection period, where people who have already commented on the project during the current scoping period can object. After the objection period, a final decision will be issued from the Forest Service.
“They could potentially start this winter,” Mayville said. “A lot of this could be constructed over snow. Everything’s gotta line up, but we could finalize it after the wildlife closure in the summer, a potentially have it up next winter.”
‘HEARING WHAT PEOPLE THINK’
For the Forest Service, the open house was an unrequired addition to scoping period.
Unrequired, but not unnecessary, said Mayville.
“I’m big on hearing what people think,” he said on Wednesday. “Whatever we’ve done lately — whether it’s Berlaimont Estates, Hanging Lake, Golden Peak or this project in McCoy Park — public comment has been huge for us. The open house has multiple functions, it helps us not only scope our project and put sideboards on it, but it also helps me, my staff and any proponents communicate what we’re trying to do.”
Comments on the project will be accepted through Tuesday, May 29, on http://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput? Project=52650. Comments can also be mailed in to Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Max Forgensi, Mountain Sports Permit Administrator, White River National Forest P.O. Box 190, Minturn, CO, 81645.
Persons commenting should include: 1) name, address, telephone number, organization represented (if any); 2) name of the proposal on which the comment is being submitted (Beaver Creek Resort — McCoy Park Terrain Development); and 3) specific facts and supporting reasons for consideration. Only those who submit timely and specific written comments will have eligibility to file an objection to the project.
This story was corrected to reflect that Nate Goldberg is a current employee of the Beaver Creek Nordic Center. Goldberg is a former employee of the Beaver Creek hiking center and will be working out of Vail this summer.