Forest Service OKs Vail Resorts plan to restore Keystone tundra. But the delay will keep terrain expansion from opening on time. |

Forest Service OKs Vail Resorts plan to restore Keystone tundra. But the delay will keep terrain expansion from opening on time.

The White River National Forest suspended construction in alpine bowl at Keystone after Vail Resorts crews plowed a road beyond permitted boundaries. The company’s cure for damage “the best … I’ve ever seen,” forest boss says.

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
A forest recently cleared above the Outpost building during the construction of a new chairlift for Bergman Bowl at Keystone ski area seen on July 28.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

KEYSTONE — The U.S. Forest Service is allowing Vail Resorts to continue building a new lift at Keystone after the company submitted a plan to repair tundra damaged by a temporary road that extended beyond permitting boundaries.

White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams on Thursday said he accepted Vail Resorts’ cure for improperly grading 2.5 acres outside of approved construction boundaries, including 1.5 acres above treeline in the fragile alpine zone. The company’s construction crews also filled a wetland creek with logs and graded over it to create a road crossing and did not save topsoil and vegetation for replanting after construction, all of which the agency found “were not consistent with Forest Service expectations.”

Fitzwilliams rescinded his order of noncompliance and canceled the cease-and-desist order he issued last month after Forest Service officials discovered the construction that had not been permitted in approvals for Keystone’s expansion into Bergman Bowl. 

Vail Resorts hired an outside firm to develop the repair plan. On Thursday afternoon, resort officials said the nearly one-month delay will prevent the opening of the expansion by this winter. The project is one of the nation’s largest resort expansions underway.

“Quite honestly, it’s the best restoration plan I’ve ever seen in my life. Even our staff are like ‘Oh my god,’” Fitzwilliams said. “The restoration plan submitted by Keystone is extremely detailed, thorough and includes all the necessary actions to insure the damage is restored as best as possible.”


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