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Forest Service wants input on summer activity at ski areas

Oct 23, 2013 - From staff reports

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on proposed criteria to evaluate activities and facilities allowed at ski areas on Forest Service lands under the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011.

Most of the 122 ski areas operating on Forest Service lands are authorized by the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 for Nordic and alpine skiing. The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 expanded the Ski Area Permit Act to allow approval of additional seasonal or year-round recreation activities, including summer recreational activities where the ski area's developed infrastructure could accommodate an increasing demand for year-round recreation.

The revised law includes such activities as zip lines, mountain bike terrain parks and trails, disc golf courses, and ropes courses, which are generally natural resource based and encourage outdoor recreation and the enjoyment of nature. These types of activities fit well with the agency's mission in support of outdoor natural resource-based recreation settings and experiences, in contrast to theme or amusement parks where different customer expectations are accommodated.

Most of the 122 ski areas operating on Forest Service lands are authorized by the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 for Nordic and alpine skiing. The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 expanded the Ski Area Permit Act to allow approval of additional seasonal or year-round recreation activities, including summer recreational activities where the ski area's developed infrastructure could accommodate an increasing demand for year-round recreation.

New activities should be natural-resource based, encourage outdoor recreation and enjoyment of nature, and be consistent with the intent of the act. The rule also would address the types of facilities that would be permitted.

The public has 60 days to comment from Oct. 2.

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