Backcountry Access

Is backcountry access important to you? The recent issue of Backcountry Magazine’s Eights and Elevens newsletter was dedicated to access issues. I hate to put a halt in your summer adventures, but there are some noteworthy events threatening backcountry terrain that are worth addressing.

Backcountry vistas - don't take them for granted! (Photo: Megan Kopp)

While summer sunshine may distract from the oncoming winter season, many resorts are avidly planning expansion and forest officials are scrambling to get a grip on the number of users.

How might this affect you?

  1. In Missoula, Montana, several backcountry areas are being closed to motorized travel. “Crystal Theater”and “G Spot”in upper Lolo Creek are among the proposed closures. For more information, visit this site.
  2. Down in Colorado, the White River National Forest Plan has been finalized after seven years of public comment and discussion. The plan will decommission almost 700 unofficial roads and close over 500 miles of unmaintained forest roads. Check here for specifics.
  3. Also in Colorado, the Breckenridge Peak 6 expansion is allowing you to voice your opinion until July 25th, 2011. The ski resort plans to develop 550-acres of lift and self-propelled skiing. Among the arguments are crowding and habitat destruction. More details and room for your input here.
  4. Over in Washington, Mt. Spokane has recently received approval for their 279-acre expansion. Although currently under appeal, snowshoers, cross-country skiers and backcountry skiers should be watching the outcome with great concern. More information here.

But not all is bad news. Utah’s Snowbird Ski Resort has been denied plans for a gravity-powered roller coaster on Mt. Superior. Backcountry skiers and hikers can rejoice.

What backcountry access issues concern you?

© 2011

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