Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) announced earlier this week that the U.S. Forest Service has accepted its proposed expansion plans of 500 acres, but this milestone only marks the beginning of a long road.
Erica Meuller, director of public relations for CBMR, said that under the National Environmental Policy Act the resort is required to prepare a statement ensuring the planned renovations will not negatively impact the environment, a process that can take years.
"We still have two to three years before cutting the first tree," she said, noting that the approval process is very extensive.
Although it will take time before the proposed changes become reality, the plans are big and will make some serious changes to the mountain. Two new chairs will be added to make it easier to access the Teocalli Bowl, the North Face surface lift will be replaced, snowmaking capabilities will reach to 34 acres, and new trails will be added within the mountain's current boundary.
SE Group, a third party contractor, has been hired to study and assess the impact the planned renovations will have on the wildlife, hydrology, and geology of the public lands. If they decide the proposed changes are environmentally sound, the floor is open to the local community to voice any concerns.
"Over the course of the last three years, we have engaged community members and groups to educate the public on this proposal and feel that we have major support to move forward," says John Sale, director of permitting and planning for CBMR.