Friday, September 30, 2005

Guyer Ridge ski trail plan raises questions


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

The plan calls for extending an advanced trail north of the International trail, following the natural fall line along Guyer Ridge, and linking it to the lower Cozy trail. The proposed new trail on the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain was presented earlier this year as part of Sun Valley Co.'s update of a master development plan for the ski area.

Sun Valley Co. is hoping to create an advanced ski trail on the northwest flank of Bald Mountain, along Guyer Ridge, but the proposed plan has some Ketchum residents worried about the extent of excavation the project would require.

The plan calls for removal of trees and vegetation, as well as moving dirt through portions of the proposed trail's 6,000-foot length, said Joe Miczulski, recreation specialist with the Ketchum Ranger District, a division of the Sawtooth National Forest.

"I think the level of excavation needs to be evaluated very carefully," said Ketchum resident Janet Kellam. "The perimeter of the ski area will become a very visual area. It's a natural dividing ridgeline between the ski area and Ketchum and the rest of upper Warm Springs, which is much less developed and a more pristine canyon."

Kellam said the ridgeline is visible from three directions and the trail work would create a new visual landmark.

"It's a major project," she said. "It's a bigger project than people are able to recognize right now."

Miczulski said there's been no attempt to misinform people.

"If there's any oversight, we'll work to (correct) that," he said.

He said excavation work wasn't included in the second public notice of the plan because the description of work given gives people the conceptual idea of the trail.

"There didn't seem to be a need to quantify the amount of earth to be moved," he said.

The plan calls for extending an advanced trail north of the International trail, following the natural fall line along Guyer Ridge, and linking it to the lower Cozy trail. The proposed new trail on the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain was presented earlier this year as part of Sun Valley Co.'s update of a master development plan for the ski area.

"It would be as close to a balance, as they say, as possible," Miczulski said. That means the cuts and fills would equal each other and no earth would have to be trucked away, which can be expensive, he said.

Just how many cubic yards of material that would be displaced depends on the type of equipment used and the type of material—soil or rock—found in the substrate below, he said.

The largest cut on the grading plan is shown to be approximately 16 feet, close to the 8,000-foot level, Miczulski said.

"Most of the rest of the cuts are less than five feet, according to the plan," he said.

"The intent is to use as much of the undulations of the hill as possible; not just a constant pitch but one that changes as you go along the trail," Miczulski said.

"College and Lower College (ski runs) have been re-graded to be as wide and flat as they are," he added. A similar approach would be implemented at Guyer Ridge Trail, but making it steeper and narrower.

Beginning at the 8,000-foot elevation point, on the steepest part of the run on skiers' left side, there would be a 220-foot-long retaining wall with a wind and safety fence on top.

Approximately 30 acres of vegetation would be cleared to make the trail.

A 65.3-acre permit boundary adjustment is proposed to incorporate the new trail, as well as a small portion of the existing Upper Cozy trail, into the Bald Mountain special-use permit area.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which manage Bald Mountain's public lands, are now processing the proposed multi-year, master development plan proposed by Sun Valley Co.

The Forest Service is in the second "scoping" period for Phase 1 of the master plan update. The master plan is a 10- to 15-year document, broken into three phases.

The Forest Service is proposing to implement the first phase of Sun Valley Co.'s master development plan for Bald Mountain.

"We're analyzing environmental effects and accepting public comment on what Sun Valley Co. has proposed for Phase 1," Miczulski said.

Phase 1 projects include construction of new trails, adjusting the ski area's permit boundary, adding snowmaking coverage, building a terrain park, constructing a gondola from River Run to the Roundhouse restaurant and removing the Exhibition chairlift.

The Forest Service will create a draft environmental impact statement.

"After that is formulated, folks will be able to comment again on the draft environmental impact statement," Miczulski said.

Comments received before Oct. 1 will be most helpful, he said. Comments received after that date, however, will also be reviewed.

Sun Valley Co.'s ski-area use permit for Bald Mountain will expire in December 2007. The company is also proposing to extend the permit for 40 years.

The earliest work could begin on the Guyer Ridge Trail would be summer 2008, Miczulski said.

Comments should be submitted to: Kurt Nelson, District Ranger, Ketchum Ranger District, P.O. Box 2356, Ketchum, ID 83340; (208) 622-3923 (fax); or by submitting an e-mail to: comments-intermtn-sawtooth-ketchum@fs.fed.us.

For additional information, contact Joe Miczulski, project leader, at (208) 622-5371.




 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2021 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.