Wasatch Environmental Update for November 19, 2017
By John Worlock
“Alta’s New Development Plans, 2017”
Most of the activities at the Alta Ski Resort take place on land owned by all of us under the watchful eye of the US Forest Service. So, when Alta wishes to make some changes, to make the ski resort more attractive, profitable and perhaps more efficient, they need to ask the Forest Service for permission. They have done that, earlier this year.
Recently the Forest Service completed an environmental analysis and published answers to Alta’s requests. We apologize that we are so late in telling you about this. We’re so late that the period of public comment has expired. Darn it! You’d have wanted to comment. But you can be assured that Save Our Canyons made detailed comments on Alta’s proposed Master Development Plan several months ago.
Perhaps you still want to know what’s up with Alta’s plan and the Forest Service’s Environmental Analysis of that plan. So we’ll mention a few highlights, and send you to the Save Our Canyons website for further education.
Foremost to be deplored is Alta’s wish to string a tram across the iconic face of Mount Baldy. They argue that the defacement is worthwhile, since the tram would carry personnel over to where they could do avalanche control safely and quietly, and that the few skiers it would carry would aid avalanche control by skier compaction. Not worth it, we say.
Also questionable is Alta’s desire to incorporate a few more acres of precious land into their parking schemes, while moving spaces from Wildcat Base to Albion Base.
A large number of Gazex exploders are proposed for avalanche control. The footprint and appearance of these devices and their associated gas-storage sheds have not been adequately assessed.
Some ski lifts need updating and/or realignment, they say. Some up-mountain restaurants need additions. More equipment storage space is needed. Etcetera.
You’ll work hard to get a copy of the Alta’s Description of Proposed Actions, but you can easily access Save Our Canyons’ rather biting review of the Forest Service’s Draft Environmental Assessment.
Look on our website under the banner, Alta Master Development Plan Draft Environmental Analysis. It comes with a nifty interactive map of Alta. Enjoy it!
And a Happy Thanksgiving to all!