[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 63 (Friday, April 1, 2016)]
[Pages 18823-18824]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-07279]



Forest Service

White River National Forest; Pitkin County; Colorado; Snowmass 
Multi-Season Recreation Projects

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) has submitted a proposal to the 
White River National Forest (WRNF) to pursue approval of select 
projects from the 2015 Snowmass Mountain Master Development Plan 
(SMMDP) at Snowmass Ski Area (Snowmass). The WRNF has accepted this 
proposal and is initiating the preparation of an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) to analyze and disclose the potential environmental 
effects of implementing the projects. The Proposed Action includes: 
Mountain biking and hiking trails; a mountain coaster; a canopy tour 
and zip line; a challenge course; a climbing wall; and multi-purpose 
activity areas.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
May 2, 2016. A public open house regarding this proposal will be held 
on April 7, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Treehouse Kids 
Adventure Center, Eagle Peak Room (120 Lower Carriage Way, Snowmass 
Village, CO 81615). The venue is on the west end of the Base Village 
Plaza, just downhill of the Village Express Chairlift. The draft 
environmental impact statement is expected to be available for public 
review in summer 2016, and the final environmental impact statement is 
expected winter 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest 
Supervisor, c/o Roger Poirier, Project Leader, 900 Grand Avenue, 
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601, FAX: (970) 963-1012 (please include 
``Snowmass Multi-Season Recreation Projects'' in the subject line).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Additional information related to the 
proposed project can be obtained from: Roger Poirier, Project Leader. 
Mr. Poirier can be reached by phone at (970) 945-3245 or by email at 
[email protected]
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.


Purpose and Need for Action

    Interest in summer outdoor recreation at ski areas has grown 
nationwide in

[[Page 18824]]

recent years, and is particularly visible in Colorado. Summer 
recreation activities have evolved to include a significant variety of 
opportunities and user experiences. Likewise, recreational use in the 
National Forests has evolved beyond the traditional activities and 
solitude-seeking experiences such as hunting, fishing, camping, or 
    Snowmass has been offering summer recreation opportunities since 
the 1990s and has utilized the Elk Camp area as the designated hub for 
these activities since 2009. The various programs currently offered 
have proven to be popular and well-received by guests. These 
opportunities primarily include dispersed activities, specifically 
lift-served hiking and mountain biking via the Elk Camp Gondola and 
Chairlift, and dispersed activities on multiple-use trails on the 
western side of the mountain.
    The activities at Snowmass are fairly limited to a spectrum of 
visitors that have the physical ability and skillset to participate. 
There are few opportunities for developed recreation that enable guests 
without a particular level of skill or experience to engage in 
adventure or thrill-based experiences.
    There is a desire to offer a range of experiences to engage current 
Forest users as well as encourage new users to visit and experience 
National Forest System (NFS) lands. Currently at Snowmass there is a 
lack of recreational opportunities that provide:
     Adventure or thrill-based experiences that require little 
specialized knowledge, skills, equipment or familiarity with the 
mountain environment--elements which can be a barrier for visitors 
(e.g., families, the elderly/aging, or those with disabilities) 
desiring to engage in outdoor activities;
     Sufficient supply and variety of mountain biking trails 
serving a wide range of ability levels;
     Settings for educational and interpretive programs and 
events; and
     Activity-based interaction with a forested, mountain 
environment in a controlled setting, offering an opportunity for users 
to interact with and learn about nature.
    There is a need for a broad and diverse mix of multi-season 
recreational activities that collectively provide the public with a 
range of outdoor activities from passive to active, intimate to 
interactive, and serve a range of personal interests, skills and 
abilities among guests.

Proposed Action

    The Proposed Action includes the construction of the following 
     Approximately 16 miles of new mountain biking and hiking 
     A mountain coaster in the Elk Camp vicinity;
     A canopy tour near Elk Camp Meadows;
     A zip line down to the Gondola Turn Station;
     A challenge course in the Elk Camp Meadows area;
     A permanent climbing wall within the former Caf[eacute] 
Suzanne restaurant site;
     Multi-purpose activity areas.
    A full description of each element can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=49057.

Responsible Official

    The Responsible Official is Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor 
for the WRNF.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Based on the analysis that will be documented in the forthcoming 
EIS, the Responsible Official will decide whether or not to implement, 
in whole or in part, the Proposed Action or another alternative that 
may be developed by the Forest Service as a result of scoping.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. The Forest 
Service is soliciting comments from Federal, State and local agencies 
and other individuals or organizations that may be interested in or 
affected by implementation of the proposed projects. A public open 
house regarding this proposal will be held on April 7, 2016 from 6:00 
p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center, Eagle Peak 
Room (120 Lower Carriage Way, Snowmass Village, CO 81615). The venue is 
on the west end of the Base Village Plaza, just downhill of the Village 
Express Chairlift. Continuous bus service is available via RFTA or TOSV 
bus systems, and free parking is available in the Base Village Parking 
Garage after 5:00 p.m. Representatives from the WRNF and ASC will be 
present to answer questions and provide additional information on this 
    To be most helpful, comments should be specific to the project area 
and should identify resources or effects that should be considered by 
the Forest Service. Submitting timely, specific written comments during 
this scoping period or any other official comment period establishes 
standing for filing objections under 36 CFR parts 218 A and B. 
Additional information and maps of this proposal can be found at: 
    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of 
the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be 
provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly 
articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names 
and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record 
for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be 
accepted and considered, however.

    Dated: March 25, 2016.
Scott Fitzwilliams,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2016-07279 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am]