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7/10/15 | BTNF Approval



USFS
Bridger-Teton National Forest
P.O. Box 1888
Jackson, WY 83001
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS: Mary Cernicek (307) 739-5564(307) 739-5564
DATE: July 10, 2015

The Bridger-Teton National Forest Signs Draft Decision Approving Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Recreation Improvements

Western Wyo. - Forest Supervisor Patricia O'Connor, of the Bridger-Teton National Forest issued a draft decision approving a proposal from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) to implement several recreation enhancements included in their Master Development Plan (MDP). Several projects were approved including expansion of the snowmaking equipment, installation of a zip line, expansion of the Casper restaurant and installation of the Sweetwater gondola, among other improvements. The Environmental Assessment, which is an analysis completed as required by the National Environmental Policy Act is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=45873

"Ski areas provide an opportunity for the public to connect with their National Forests year round, and the Selected Alternative provides enhanced winter and summer opportunities at the Resort", said O'Connor. Concentrating recreational use such as skiing and downhill mountain biking makes them more accessible and affords the Forest the opportunity to meet public demands while avoiding unnecessary sprawl into backcountry areas that provide critical wildlife habitat and undisturbed watersheds. Wider, year-round accessibility to these enhanced opportunities contributes to the quality of life we enjoy and supports local economies. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located on The Bridger-Teton National Forest. The ski area pays a use fee based on its income derived from use of the public lands. These use fees are comparable to land rents collected by private land owners. This fee goes directly back to the Federal treasury.

In addition to the land use fee, ski areas are required to prepare MDPs that identify the existing and desired conditions for the ski area and the proposed improvements on the National Forest System lands within the permit boundary. These plans help the ski areas articulate their long range vision for the use of public lands, and they help the Forest Service anticipate future use. The plans provide local governments, other agencies and the public with information about possible long term plans that may affect them.

Conceptual projects contained in the MDP are reviewed by the Forest Service to determine if they meet Forest Plan goals and objectives. Acceptance of the MDP by the Forest Service does not imply authorization to proceed with construction or implementation of any proposed projects. Specific projects proposed in an MDP require a more in-depth, site-specific evaluation prior to proceeding into environmental review and/or analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Persons who have previously submitted timely specific written comments regarding the proposed project, either during scoping or during other designated opportunities for public comments may object to this decision within 45-days of publication of the legal notice in the Casper Star Tribune. More information on this process can be found on the project web site listed above.

Questions about this draft decision can be directed to Ray Spencer at rspencer01@fs.fed.us or at 307-739-5415307-739-5415.