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Our Mission
Friends of Snodgrass Mountain intend to preserve the current undeveloped state of a lift-free, publicly owned Snodgrass Mountain.  As stewards of our public lands, it is our responsibility to preserve these lands now and for generations to come.  We believe that Snodgrass Mountain is more beneficial to our economy, our quality of life and our environment without ski lifts. FOSM works to protect and preserve the biodiversity and social significance of a lift-free Snodgrass Mountain based on the following principles:
  • Sustainable Economic Well-Being
  • Protecting Existing Open Space
  • Preserving Wildlife Species, Habitat, and Migratory Corridors
  • Protection of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
  • Protecting Air Quality and Watershed Integrity
  • Preserving Backcountry Access and Use
* Protect Our Economy
We can protect our economy by retaining valuable open space and view sheds. Throughout the Western mountains, vast sums are being invested to acquire and preserve rapidly diminishing open space. Locally, visitor surveys repeatedly show that our open space and uncluttered view sheds represent major aspects of our tourism appeal. Snodgrass Mountain is particularly valuable due to its location in the center of the view shed of the magnificent upper East River Valley. As our valley continues to be built out, Snodgrass Mountain’s open space will become more and more valuable to our economy. Ski lifts and runs on Snodgrass Mountain would significantly and permanently alter the landscape and view shed, thereby damaging our appeal to visitors. Furthermore, for more than a decade Colorado ski expansions have consistently proven to be ineffective at attracting more skiers or improving ski town economies. It would be unwise to trade Snodgrass Mountain’s economically valuable open space for a ski area expansion that is unlikely to benefit our economy.
* Preserve Wildlife Species, Habitat and Migratory Corridors
Several sensitive & threatened species of wildlife are found on SGM including: Lynx, Goshawk, Chorus frog, Tiger salamanders, Willow flycatcher and the Gunnison Sage Grouse. According to recent Colorado Department of Wildlife data, Snodgrass Mountain provides overall range and potential habitat for Lynx, Black bear, Elk, Mule deer and Mountain Lion. SGM is also considered an important production area for Geese, providing range for nesting and brooding. Additional species found on SGM include: Pine Marten, Fox, Ermine, Marmot and numerous rodent and bird species. With the development of SGM and its inherent habitat fragmentation, these species would have a difficult time maintaining their populations.

The quality and abundance of flora including but not limited to Columbine, Lupine, Larkspur, Pentstemon, Sunflowers, etc. has earned this area state designation as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado.  The impacts on SGM's wildflower meadows would be devastating.  The disturbance of development would allow invasive species to invade SGM's meadows therefore destroying native plant habitat.
* Protect Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL)
The unique status of the RMBL as an internationally renowned, high-altitude research laboratory, whose projects have far-reaching and profound impacts for our world, must be maintained.  The RMBL is dependent on undisturbed habitat for its ongoing scientific study and education.  The work that RMBL conducts in the Gothic Corridor would be substantially impacted by ski-area expansion and development of Snodgrass Mountain.  Impacts on plant and animal species as well as the loss of and damage to study sites would be detrimental to the scientific community in Gothic.  Ski area expansion could also drive further development into the Gothic Corridor ultimately threatening the existence of the RMBL and its significant contribution to the local economy.

Additionally, the Gothic Road must be safeguarded against increased avalanche activity and hazard, as well as excessive motorized use.
* Protect Air Quality and Watershed Integrity
With ski area expansion onto Snodgrass Mountain there would be an increase in vehicular traffic on Highway 135 and Gothic Road.  This would dramatically affect air quality and potentially increase both noise and light pollution in the neighboring communities of Crested Butte, Meridian Lake, Mount Crested Butte and Gothic.

Ski area expansion on SGM would include the largest logging operation seen in the upper East River watershed in the last half century.  Erosion, slumping soils, and changes to the hydrologic cycle on Snodgrass, due to the removal of the forest, could permanently affect in-stream flows and fish habitat in the East River. The south facing slopes of Snodgrass Mountain would require large amounts of water for snow making activities.  This water would be diverted from the East River drainage to the Slate River drainage necessitating a tenfold water augmentation plan.  This will alter the normal drainage patterns and reduce the amount of water in the upper East River valley.  The snow making water added to Snodgrass Mountain would further change the hydrology and ecology of the mountain.  The currently unstable soils of Snodgrass Mountain would become further weakened as a result of the water artificially added to its slopes. According to a US Geological Survey conducted in 1996 on the slope stability of proposed ski facilities on the Southeast slope of Snodgrass Mountain, “Several geologic hazards, including expansive soil, debris flow, shallow sliding and deep-seated failure must be considered in developing ski facilities on or near landslide deposits”.
* Maintain Low Impact Backcountry Access and Use
SGM is a quick and easy access to the backcountry for thousands of residents as well as summer and winter visitors.  Maintaining this backcountry access is critical for the local economy. Outside magazine has designated the Snodgrass bike trail as one of the best Mt Bike trails in America.  The current backcountry use of skiing, biking, hiking and camping has the least impact on the land. Additionally, private development of this terrain has the potential of limiting or possibly closing public access to existing trails and county roads including the Washington Gulch and Gothic roads.

2009 Friends of Snodgrass Mountain • Contact Webmaster