CBMR formally submits master development plan to Forest Service
Written by Alissa Johnson   
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
A lot more detail added

After roughly two years of community meetings and communication with the U.S. Forest Service, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) has submitted its 2012 Master Development Plan (MDP) to the agency for review.

 

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The plan includes expansion of ski terrain into Teocalli drainage and expansion of summer hiking and mountain biking trails—the goal is to give the Forest Service a conceptual understanding of year-round activities designed to keep visitors on the mountain longer.
“It’s the 10-year master plan,” explained John Sale, director of planning for the resort. “The Teo drainage expansion is part of this, along with the Teocalli Lift realignment and the summer use and summer trails.”
The resort originally intended to submit the plan for final review and acceptance at the end of the summer, but CBMR has been responding to changes requested by both the local district ranger’s office and the supervisor’s office in Delta.
“Over the last four months we’ve been going back to the Forest Service with the MDP, and they’ve been doing cursory reviews. We’ve been responding to initial comments and adding more material and a lot more detail,” Sale said.
In addition to outlining existing operations and facilities, the MDP outlines previously approved projects like realigning the Teocalli Lift as well as new ideas like adding 440 acres of lift-accessed terrain in Teocalli drainage. It also lays out a plan to develop summer mountain biking and hiking programs, which include approximately 20 additional miles of single-track and five miles designated for hiking.
“The Teo expansion that we presented at the open house hasn’t changed at all, and certainly in concept the summer trails are pretty much the same, but we added a lot more detail,” Sale said.
Sale hopes the Forest Service’s involvement in the planning process will lead to the acceptance of the plan in the next one to two months. It’s an inherently simpler process than past discussions, such as the Snodgrass debate, which included a master plan and a separate project proposal to put lifts on Snodgrass. Had that plan been accepted, additional environmental reviews would have been required.
“With this master plan, all we’re doing is submitting the Master Development Plan, which has no additional approvals attached to it. It’s either accepted or denied. It’s a much less intense process and really what we’re doing is floating out concepts,” Sale said.
That said, Sale agreed the cooperative partnership with the Forest Service and the level of community outreach have been beneficial. Sale and other resort staff met with the county commissioners and town and city councils and invited key people to the mountain to tour the Teo drainage. That helps reassure the agency that the community is on board with the resort’s plans.
“Before we even had a plan we were formulating ideas and taking people out there… really saying, what’s your reaction to this? Are we in the ballpark? Is this something acceptable to the community?” Sale said.
Now that the document is turned in, the resort has made the full MDP available to the public at skicb.com/mdp.
“People can download all the chapters, all 180 pages of it, and watch a little fly-through of the Teo drainage…It’s a pretty extensive document covering the history and the stats and there’s a lot of technical information in there about carrying capacity and restaurants. It’s a good tool for us at the ski area to look at what is our inventory, and what we can do,” Sale said. He added that he welcomes any additional comments and questions the public might have about the document.