Alta's Hotly Debated Tram Proposal Gets Nod From Feds

Alta's Hotly Debated Tram Proposal Gets Nod From Feds

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Alta's Hotly Debated Tram Proposal Gets Nod From Feds

A snowcat grooms the often windy East Baldy traverse. The connector would be rendered obsolete if the Flora lift gets final approval | Photo: Pawel Loj | Cover: Andre Charland

The United States Forest Service is giving Alta Ski Area‘s controversial masterplan initial approval. The proposed masterplan includes a establishing small tram to the top of Mt Baldy, replacing the iconic Wildcat chair, as well as adding new Gazex avalanche guns among other projects.

Related: Utah Gets Much Needed Snowfall With 5 Ski Areas Still Open [Totals + Photos]

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on the development today citing a USFS report that claims the developments will have “no significant impact” on the surrounding environment.

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The U.S. Forest Service Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest just authorized @altaskiarea to put a lift up Mt. Baldy and to allow construction in (another) wetland!?! This in conjunction with Alta backing away from commitments to protect Grizzly Gulch seems to indicate Alta is going into expansion and development mode. *** The decision memo humorously says that their are plenty of places for people to hike and ski in the Wasatch — well there was, until the USFS decided there wasn't a ski resort proposal it didn't love. Read the decision memo TODAY (Link on our Facebook page). *** #KeepBaldyWild #Outdoors #Nature #Advocacy #openspace #protectopenspace #savepublicland #wasatchback #fallinthewasatch #utahisrad #iloveutah #beaUTAHful #exploretocreate #optoutside #saveland #becreative #KeepItClean #OnlyOneWasatch #EnvironmentalProtection #CleanWater #SLC #801 #Spring

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Others aren’t so sure. They include Wasatch-based non-profit, Save Our Canyons. When the development was first announced, the SOC slammed the move claiming that future visitors would be less attracted to Little Cottonwood Canyon if the mountain continued to be built upon. They also spoke out concerning the American Pika’s well being, the population of which continues to decline.

“At the very least, it’s a new tram that’s likely to break up ridge lines views and be seen from miles around – from Timpanogos to Mt. Aire.” – Alex Schmidt, Save Our Canyons Campaign Coordinator

The USFS on the other hand thinks that the new lifts and Gazex systems will not compromise the habitats and well being of natural resources in the area. In their scoping notice, the USFS claims the proposal is “consistent with UWCNF screening criteria.” Up next will be a NEPA review by the USFS in which the details of the proposed developments will fall under tougher scrutiny. Stay tuned Alta skiers.

You can find the entire USFS letter here: Alta Proposal Scoping Notice

Proposed Improvements:

  • Albion/Wildcat base parking.
  • Tram from Germania Pass to the top of Mt. Baldy.
  • GazEx or other equivalent technologies to replace artillery and avalauncher.
  • Replacement of Albion and Sunnyside lifts.
  • Replacement of Cecret and Supreme lifts.
  • Replacement of Wildcat lift.
  • Flora lift from bottom of Sugarbowl to the top of Collins lift.
  • Supreme terrain work.
  • Alf’s restaurant building addition.
  • Watson Shelter building addition.
  • Equipment storage facility.
  • Lake restoration at the top of Glory Hole.

The proposed developments will cover nearly all corners of Alta Ski Area from parking to the Mt Baldy Tram

Find all the proposals here: ALTA MDP IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

 

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