At the end of the five years, the permit would be reevaluated for a possible increase up to a 10-year permit, and an opportunity to apply for additional service days if the 300 days have consistently been used. The permit area includes approximately 13,611 total acres of public and private lands within eight ski pods in the Silverton area. The BLM permit does not authorize skiing on the private lands within these pods.
The Agency’s Preferred Alternative is a reasonable compromise to the proponent-proposed action. It is a balanced approach that reflects the public interest in heli-skiing as matched with the public’s desire to engage in quiet use winter backcountry recreational activities. This alternative also keeps helicopter skiing away from existing designated Wilderness and Wilderness Study Area boundaries.
Noise and overflights of the Silverton area and most developed private lands are avoided. Potential backcountry skier and snowmobile conflicts are also minimized under this alternative. Potential impacts to historical structures and Canada lynx areas of use are also avoided.
The final EA and FONSI/Decision Record are available for review online at: www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan/projects/projects.shtml. For more information, or to receive a hard copy, contact Richard Speegle at 970/375-3310.