“When you drop a bulldozer blade in the [High] Alpine [Environment], that is very fragile and very difficult to restore.”– Scott Fitzwilliams, White River National Forest Supervisor.
If you illegally bulldoze an unauthorized road through a high alpine environment, you’re going to have a bad time.
Vail Daily reports the U.S. Forest Service issued a cease-and-desist order to Keystone Resort due to their construction equipment damaging a high alpine environment. An unauthorized road was bulldozed through the Bergman Bowl, where the Forest Service wanted minimal impacts.
Keystone is currently working on adding a high-speed lift into the Bergman Bowl, making the 555 acres of terrain lift serviced for the first time ever. Based on how long this delay is, this mistake could stop Keystone from having the lift open for the 2022-23 season.
Vail Resorts realized the bulldozing mistake and contacted the U.S. Forest Service about the significant error. They have also hired a contractor to begin working on a restoration plan for the areas affected by the bulldozer.
After the cease-and-desist letter was sent, Vail Resorts immediately complied and stopped construction. Scott Fitzwilliams said the following about their relationship with Vail Resorts:
“We’re a long-term partner with Vail, and they’ve been a good partner. I’m confident we’ll be able to work through this, but it’s serious. We take this very seriously.”
This follows news of the Park City Planning Commission granting an appeal from residents over the concerns they had due to the overcrowding of Park City Mountain, making the construction of the two planned new lifts before the 2022-23 season impossible.
Chris Sorenson, who is the GM and Vice President of Keystone, released the following statement yesterday:
“We are working closely with the U.S. Forest Service on an issue that arose during construction. Specifically, an area that was supposed to have a minimal construction route was instead approached as a temporary construction route. This was due to a misunderstanding by our construction team, for which we take full responsibility.
Keystone Resort has a long history of successful partnership with the U.S. Forest Service on projects that provide guests the opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation within our National Forest. We take this mistake seriously, and at their direction have paused some work at the site while the USFS conducts an assessment to determine next steps.
We deeply regret the impact this unauthorized construction activity has had on the environment that our team works carefully to protect every day. We take environmental protection and compliance extremely seriously and are committed to making this right.
At this time, we do not yet know if this will impact the opening of lift-served terrain at Bergman Bowl this season. We will provide more information as we continue to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.“
Image Credits: Keystone Resort