According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ski area expansions are the most ecological damaging task that an area can undertake. In a plan revision for the White River National Forest in Colorado, regarding the Copper Mountain Ski Resort expansion, the EPA hammers that point home when they say that “…no other land management prescription on the Forest directly results in more stream-water depletion, wetland impacts, air pollution, permanent vegetation change, or permanent habitat loss… more wetland impacts and stream depletions resulted from ski area expansion and improvement than from all other Forest management activities combined, including many direct and indirect impacts that are permanent (irreversible and irretrievable).”
Meanwhile, skier numbers nationally have only increased just two percent since 1978(source). Which begs the question, why have ski area sizes more than doubled in acreage to the tune of 107%(source)? Mt. Ashland’s future expansion surely isn’t needed due t...
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...ts past development and expansion of the Copper Mountain ski area as major factor in the degradation of the watershed and local water quality. Impacts include: increased peak flows, increased water temperature, increased erosion and sediment transport, and decrease flow due to snowmaking activities.
The USDA has taken exhaustive steps to help mitigate the damage caused by the expansion at a great financial cost to taxpayers. The USDA has had to redesign all stream crossings to allow for higher stream flows and to withstand expected floods. They also performed physical modifications of the stream patterns and stream geometry to improve long term stream health.
Concerned locals first brought attention to the Environmental Scorecard in November of 2008 after an article published in the local newspaper, Ashland Daily Tidings, appeared.
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