To the top of Tucker: Forest Service seeks public comment for Copper Mountain chairlift, infrastructure proposal through Feb. 9 | SummitDaily.com

To the top of Tucker: Forest Service seeks public comment for Copper Mountain chairlift, infrastructure proposal through Feb. 9

An overview of the project area at Tucker Mountain for the proposed new Tucker Mountain chairlift at Copper Mountain Resort.

Copper Mountain Resort wants to install a new fixed-grip triple-chair lift and other skier-related infrastructure on the north side of Tucker Mountain. The Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest will seek comments on the resort's proposal through Feb. 9.

The new 3,000-foot long "Tucker Lift" would have a capacity of 1,200 people-per-hour and provide lift access to a portion of the resort's terrain that is currently only accessible via snowcat, by skinning or by foot. The lift alignment would run from the bottom of Copper Bowl — south of the bottom terminal of the Blackjack chairlift — to the top of Tucker Mountain.

The resort has also requested to construct a ski patrol outpost, a bomb cache, a snow fence and a 40-foot-high communication tower on Tucker Ridge as part of the project. The existing ski patrol outpost on top of Tucker Mountain would be replaced and the new ski patrol outpost would be roughly 1,000 square feet and located adjacent to the top terminal of the Tucker Lift. Approximately 3,800 liner feet of permanent snow fencing is proposed along the ridge of Tucker Mountain.

The installation of two restrooms is also new to the resort's proposal. One restroom would be located at the bottom of the Mountain Chief chairlift in Copper Bowl and one would be located at the bottom of the Rendezvous and Sierra chairlifts in Union Bowl.

Each element of the proposed project is located within the resort's existing operational boundary and special use permit area.

U.S. Forest Service Dillon district ranger Bill Jackson said Copper has mulled the idea of putting a chairlift up Tucker for the past decade-plus, as back in 2006 a previous alignment of the lift was approved by the Forest Service.

Recommended Stories For You

But since that time, Copper's design has evolved into a new alignment that requires the Forest Service to conduct a site-specific environmental analysis and public comment.

"It's not that much farther from what was originally approved," Jackson said, "but because they want to put in a new alignment and add some new features like two new restrooms, that's why we wanted to put it out there again."

Jackson added that the Forest Service will look at public comments for a two-to-four week period following the Feb. 9 deadline. Then, once it is determined whether or not the comments warrant any changes or additions, Jackson said the Forest Service will likely render a final decision by April or May, which could allow Copper to construct the additions in time for next ski season.

The proposed Tucker Lift would incorporate approximately 360 acres into the lift-served terrain network at Copper.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the Forest Service said the project would help Copper improve access to terrain, provide necessary snow safety and mountain operations facilities, improve communication capabilities for staff and guests and expand access to restroom facilities at these locations.

To view more information about the project, visit: Fs.Usda.Gov/project/?project=53100.

This comment period will be the public's only opportunity to provide feedback before the final decision is made. To comment, members of the public can submit a written, facsimile, hand-delivered or electronic comment. The Forest Service is asking to reference "Copper Mountain Resort – Tucker Project."

Written comments must be submitted to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Sam Massman, Dillon Ranger District, PO Box 620, Silverthorne, CO 80498-0620.

The Forest Service's Silverthorne office business hours for submitting hand-delivered comments are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Electronic comments including attachments can be submitted to: Cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=53100.

The Forest Service asks that those commenting should include their name, address, telephone number, organization represented (if any), the name of the proposal on which the comment is being submitted and specific facts and supporting reasons for consideration.

If you'd like more information about the project, the Forest Service says to contact project manager Sam Massman at 970-262-3484.