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Forest signs off on Mt. Bachelor improvements

By KTVZ.COM news sources
Published On: Feb 13 2013 04:40:37 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 14 2013 01:57:47 AM CST

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports on the Mt. Bachelor expansion plans approved by the Forest Service.

BEND, Ore. -

Deschutes National Forest Supervisor John Allen said Wednesday he has signed a decision on the Mt. Bachelor Ski Area Improvement Project.  The decision will allow a series of improvements proposed by the ski resort to move forward over the next 10 years, officials said.

In 2010, Mt. Bachelor, Inc. submitted a proposal to the Forest Service requesting authorization to implement improvements in their Master Development Plan.   The improvements were designed to improve both winter and summer recreational opportunities at the resort. 

Since then,  the Deschutes National Forest has completed an environmental impact statement for the project.  A draft environmental impact statement was put out for public comment on May 21, 2012. 

Wednesday's release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision is the last step in the analysis process.  However, no projects can be implemented until a 45-day appeal period is finished, which will begin on Friday and end on April 1, 2013.

Major improvements allowed by the decision include:

Eastside Pod

·         Develop a new Eastside Express lift and associated trails.

·         Construct a new, lower elevation catchline to deliver skiers to the Eastside Express lift.

Sunrise Area

·         Replace the Rainbow lift and Sunrise Express lifts.

·         Remove a snowmobile trail (No. 40) from the National Forest Trail system and prohibit snowmobile use by the public within the Mt. Bachelor ski area boundary.

·         Develop a Sunrise Learning Center and Kids Adventure Zone.

·         Build a new lodge, parking lot, and access road at the Sunrise Base.

West Village Area

·         Shorten the Red Chair

·         Construct an Alpine Training Center and expand the West Village lodge.

·         Move the tubing hill.

·         Construct a biomass co-generation facility to provide electrical power and steam heat.

Nordic Center

·         Refurbish Bob’s Bungalow and make minor trail improvements.

Summer Activities

·         Develop new hiking trails.

·         Create a lift-served, downhill mountain bike park.

·         Create a zipline course and install a rock climbing structure.

 

“We are pleased with Forest Supervisor John Allen’s decision to select the proposed action alternative for resort and guest improvements at Mt. Bachelor over the next 10 years," said Dave Rathbun, the resort's president and general manager.

"We spent a great deal of time before the plan was submitted to the Forest Service to talk with the public and key stakeholders, to make sure the proposed projects were sound and made sense from perspectives other than just our own. 

"Several changes were made to the plan because of this collaboration.  The final plan submitted to the Forest Service was also well-aligned with the full range of forest management considerations, which we believe is another contributing factor to today’s favorable outcome,” Rathbun added.

All proposed improvements that were analyzed are within the Special Use Permit boundary for Mt. Bachelor.  No expansion beyond the current boundary is proposed.

Tune in tonight on NewsChannel 21 for reaction from skiers and boarders to the Forest Service approval and Mt. Bachelor's plans.

Here's a link to a page on the Forest Service Website with the final decision document and hundreds of pages of other related information.

For more information about the project, please contact Amy Tinderholt at 541-383-4708 or atinderholt@fs.fed.us

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