Monday, July 25, 2005

The "Summit Lift" Saga Continues

The "approved" then "denied" then "approved again" and again "denied" Summit Lift is once again been "approved" by the Forest Service. The location of the lift is visible in the photo of Peak 8 to the left. It will go almost to the summit of Peak 8.

The Breckenridge Ski Area is on track to begin building the Peak 8 Summit Lift as soon as Aug. 2.

Regional Forest Service officials last week rejected a challenge to the lift, and Breckenridge resort officials said in a prepared statement that they are hopeful the lift will be completed in time for the 2005-2006 season.

Only a last-ditch lawsuit could delay the project at this point, USFS Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton said, explaining that regional Forest Service officials denied an appeal of the lift approval last week.

Any potential issues relating to wetlands impacts have also been resolved, following a July 20 site visit, when resort officials and their consultants walked the terrain with regulators from the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps and the EPA had previously expressed concern about a lack of precise wetlands mapping in the project area.

"We like to have a level of confidence and we didn't have that," said the EPA's Sarah Fowler.

"There are no wetlands in the way of the project," she said."

"Our goal was to go through and show them on the ground what we had done, mapping wise," said Joe Foreman, winter sports ranger for the Dillon Ranger District. "We got a clean bill of health on wetlands."

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