Forest Service Officials Decide to Enforce Forest Plan
Last year, Alta submitted a proposal to update their master plan (Read Alta’s Proposal Update Here). This propsal included major modifications on private land and land within their permitted boundaries to structures, lifts, and parking lots, as well as a new tram from the top of Collins lift to Mt. Baldy. However, the most concerning aspect of the proposal was their attempt to mask construction of a new lift up Grizzly Gulch on Forest Service land as avalanche control. The lawyers for alta argued that the lift would provide safe access to the ridge for avalanche control personnel and furthermore recreational skiers would help compaction of the snowpack. This misses the point that the increased access by resort skiers to the Big/Little Cottonwood ridge and Alta’s open boundaries policy would place human powered recreationlists in both Silver and Days Fork Canyons in greater avalanche danger from above by lift serviced skiers.
Even with this clear risk, this week the proposed update was denied on an even more elementary grounds. Of how the proposed expansion outside their permitted boundaries does not satisfy the initial screening requirements of the Forest Service Code of Federal Regulations. This denial was in part due to SOC’s response (Read Summary of SOC’s Position) which alerted the Forest Supervisor of the proposals shortcomings, who subsequently denied the proposal (Read Forest Supervisor’s response here) and recommended that Alta file for new permits for the resort expansion.