Forest Service gives Snow King update

JACKSON, WY — The U.S. Forest Service, Bridger-Teton National Forest has completed two reports, one summarizing comments and concerns received during the initial scoping period. These comments were then used to identify issues of the proposed action. The second report is a summary of these issues. Issues help to determine where to focus our analysis in a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

In response to scoping comments received and issues raised, the Bridger-Teton National Forest is working with Snow King Mountain Resort to modify the Proposed Action and develop an alternative proposal designed to address environmental impacts. These alternatives, plus a no-action alternative will be analyzed and compared in a draft environmental impact statement. Read the “Scoping Report”  for a summary of the concerns brought about by 10 agencies, 11 organizations, and 419 individuals along with a response to those concerns. Under the “Supporting” tab you can also find the “Issues Statements” that highlight the issues that will be carried forward to the in-depth analysis of the draft EIS. For a quick reference take a look at the “Decision Process Flow Chart.”

Background:

Snow King’s proposal includes projects such as a new ski school/teaching center on the ridgeline west the Snow King summit, new ski terrain totaling about 97.5 acres (groomed runs and teaching terrain), upgrading the existing Summit lift to a gondola, upgrading and installation of facilities, along with a new access road. A few of the buildings included in the proposal are a summit restaurant/guest services building and ski patrol facility, a temporary ski patrol building at the top of Cougar lift, an observatory and planetarium at the summit, a wedding venue west of the summit building, and a year-round yurt camp at the southern point of the permit area. Also included in the analysis will be the front-side mountain bike trails and a back-side mountain bike zone, hiking trails and a zip line, among other proposed improvements. Ski area permits require a Master Development Plan (MDP) as a means to provide a long-term framework for development of the ski area. The current MDP proposes an assortment of summer and winter recreational opportunities and chairlift modifications. The Snow King’s master development plan (MDP) was formally accepted by the Bridger-Teton National Forest in and does not pre-dispose the agency to final approval of this project. The decision whether to authorize any or all of the proposed elements will likely be made in 2020 through an extensive review process. Any conditions imposed will be based on analysis of the environmental effects and consistent with the 1990 Bridger-Teton National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 which amended the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986, and other relevant laws, policies, and regulations.

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