The U.S. Forest Service refuses to consider the Crested Butte Snodgrass Mountain expansion proposal with public involvement. Last November, the US Forest Service had rejected a Crested Butte Mountain Resort plan to expand the resort and add terrain to nearby Snodgrass Mountain, blocking its application for an environmental review of the area. Now the Forest Service has denied the appeal of CBMR to enter the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to request public input on the proposal despite working with the resort for the past five years.
Crested Butte maintains that it had received clear indications from the Forest Service that all requirements for entering the NEPA process had been met. However, a letter signed by Charles Richmond, Supervisor of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, cites a lack of community support for the project, increased public demands upon the forest, and unstable soil and hydrology of the site as the basis for his decision. Richmond’s letter also indicates that his decision is not subject to an administrative appeals process, leaving Crested Butte without many options.
In the past few years several Colorado resorts have proposed similar public land terrain expansions, such as Vail, Copper Mountain, Steamboat and Telluride, and in each case the proposed expansions received support and opposition from the community, but the Forest Service made its decision only after conducting a public NEPA process.
The plan was to open three new lifts and a gondola to serve what would be much gentler terrain than what is currently available at Crested Butte, known for its steep and gnarly runs and extreme in-bounds skiing. Because the most marketable target audience for ski resorts happens to be those who ski intermediate blue runs, the idea was to ease the reputation of Crested Butte and open the resort to an entirely new demographic.