Crunch time for Peak 6 group in Breckenridge
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BRECKENRIDGE ” Some members of a task force set up to look at social impacts of a proposed ski-resort expansion on Peak 6 are frustrated that the U.S. Forest Service still hasn’t provided some basic statistical information for the project.
“The Forest Service is not releasing the information on how much intermediate terrain this will add. That’s the purpose and need of this project. It’s frustrating. … I feel like I’m still totally in the dark about some of this,” said Breckenridge Town Councilman Dave Rossi.
The data would help the task force weigh the benefits of the projects against the projected impacts to parking, housing, transportation and child care, Rossi said.
Forest Service snow ranger Joe Foreman said the project is still in a conceptual design phase.
“There’s no hard breakdown on advanced versus intermediate terrain. It depends on the final design,” he said.
The initial plans called for about 450 acres of new terrain, inclduing 67 acres of “developed trail skiing.” The project also would add about 285 acres of intermediate, advanced-intermediate and expert skiing in terrain above timberline. About 124 of those above-timberline acres would be intermediate level, according to the Breckenridge proposal.
Resort officials have said the new area is the final piece of the resort’s long-term plan and that the new terrain would help meet the anticipated and existing demand for intermediate trails. Based on their studies of skier traffic at Breckenridge, resort officials have said the new terrain would help better disperse intermediate skiers across the new and existing terrain.
The task force has been meeting for about six months to try and find ways to address the project’s collateral impacts to the community. Ski-area executives formed the group after an initial round of public comments on the Peak 6 plan showed that many residents had concerns about the project.
At its meeting this week, the group will try to set a date for a public open house, probably sometime in early March, according to task-force facilitator Sarah Stokes Alexander of the Keystone Center.
“My hope is that the public can get an understanding of what we’ve been doing,” Rossi said. “We’re not the deciding body … and this isn’t a tacit endorsement of the project,” he said. “I’m not going to be afraid to point out that there are some areas where we don’t see eye to eye.”
Although the group began meeting with the implicit understanding that issues like parking, housing and childcare exist with or without the Peak 6 project, the focus of the group has been to use the current ski-area proposal as a way of finding some long-term answers to those vexing questions.
“There have been some hard questions put forth to the ski area,” said town councilman Jeffrey Bergeron. “You’ve reaped the benefits of developing public land. What will you come to the table with to mitigate the impacts in areas that are of concern to the town and county?” Bergeron said.
He said he’s sure some of those same questions will surface at the planned open house and hopes that the task force and resort will have some of the answers by then.
Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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