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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Forest Service Ignores NEPA, Approves Stevens Pass Development Plan

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention! The US Forest Service did not adequately address NEPA*, cumulative effects and mitigation issues when it approved the Stevens Pass Master Development Plan to build a mountain bike park and new water treatment system on April 13th.

Despite our discussions with USFS to find approaches that would balance the company’s requests with the proper protection of the public’s National Forest land and resources, the plan was as approved shows no evidence of the Forest Supervisor including any of our suggestions as to how to handle the NEPA and cumulative effects issues. 

The approved additional development and human activity at Stevens Pass have a very real impact on wildlife - especially those that inhabit the higher elevations and those affected by climate change.  It appears the USFS is trying to segment this substantial expansion into smaller pieces so they can avoid the responsibility to deal substantively with these issues. We have until May 12 to file an appeal. Contact us at info@northcascades.org if you would like to be involved in meetings.
 
This is in contrast to the approach the NF took at Snoqualmie Pass, where we supported the final proposal that dealt with these issues directly and appropriately within an EIS.


The Forest Service has approved Phase 1 of the 2007 Master Development Plan for Stevens Pass Ski Area.  

The project includes the construction and operation of lift served downhill mountain bike trails and associated skill development parks.  A replacement water treatment system is also approved.

The cover letter and the Decision Notice including the Finding of No Significant Impact and a response to public comments is posted online at:  
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/projects/nepa-projects.shtml

These documents describe in detail the decision and rationale including various required mitigation measures.

Thank you for your interest in this project.

Sean

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USDA Forest Service
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Skykomish Ranger District
mbs_stevens_ski@fs.fed.us
www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs

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