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The Decision

In June 2010, Chief of the US Forest Service, Tom Tidwell, upheld the decision made by local Forest Service officials in the Gunnison National Forest to reject a proposal for lift-served skiing on Snodgrass Mountain. In rejecting CBMR's proposal, the Forest Service sited 12 reasons that the proposed use would not be "in the public interest." "Public interest" in this context is the phrase used by the Forest Service when performing the required screening of a proposed use change on public lands. "Public" in this context refers to the broader, national public, the owners of the land on Snodgrass Mountain.

The 12 reasons cited by the Forest Service for not accepting the proposal as a Proposed Federal Action were
Geologic Hazards, including potential for damaging landslides;
Substantial alteration of existing terrain required to construct ski trails, further altering slope stability and hydrologic functions;
Increased risk of life-threatening and property-damaging avalanches;
Boundary management issues;
Impacts to current non-motorized year-round recreation;
Difficult and time-consuming public access for skiers from Crested Butte Mountain;
Impacts to an identified Roadless Area;
Permanent loss of suitable Lynx habitat;
Long-term pressures on adjacent and nearby private lands, including working ranches;
Impacts on the adjacent Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory;
Stresses on local transportation and other infrastructures;
A deeply divided local community.

This was the third time in 30 years the community opposed ski area expansion onto Snodgrass Mountain. A substantial portion of the Crested Butte community and its visitors values Snodgrass Mountain in its current lift-free condition. It has value as: easily-accessed, deeply-loved, much-used, year-round, FREE, non-motorized recreation; an intact forest ecosystem; an elk migration corridor; wildflower meadows, healthy running streams and wetlands; economically valuable undeveloped open space; and a protective buffer for the internationally-renowned Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL), which conducts climate change research in Gothic, CO.

Eleven Colorado Conservation organizations agreed with the decision to protect the special lands on Snodgrass Mountain.

Friends of Snodgrass Mountain, LLC
updated: April 2012

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