the ski resort in southern Colorado's Telluride, is expanding onto
national forest lands now that a lawsuit brought by two locals and
two environmental groups has been settled (HCN, 8/4/97: A do-over
In an out-of-court agreement,
Telski owner, Telluride Ski & Golf Co., was authorized to add
733 acres, nearly doubling its terrain. But the ski company and the
Forest Service must observe snowmaking restrictions, protect a rare
type of wetland, and keep a minimum flow in the San Miguel River.
In addition, the plaintiffs have been granted oversight of some
aspects of the expansion to make sure environmental stipulations
The expansion opponents agree they made
substantial gains in the battle, but they say it was a bittersweet
"I'm not at all happy with it," says
Rocky Smith of Colorado Wild, a plaintiff in the suit. "We didn't
have the legal basis." Smith said they settled the lawsuit because
it was legally impossible to stop expansion altogether into
Prospect Basin, an environmentally sensitive area containing peat
wetlands and old-growth trees.
The ski area still
needs to obtain permits from the Environmental Protection Agency
and the Army Corps of Engineers to encroach on
"The groups had valid environmental
concerns," says Telluride resort spokesperson Jennifer Schlegel.
"We worked together to reach a decision." She says expansion is
necessary to make the ski area a "seven-day
The expansion will be funded mainly by
Hideo Morita, who owns much of the real estate in the area. He
acquired a third of Telluride Ski & Golf Company last July.