|photo credit: Aspen Skiing Co.|
First Tracks Online is reporting that U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg has dismissed a complaint filed by an environmental group - The Ark Initiative - which sought to prevent Aspen from clearing new gladed terrain within the boundary of the company's Snowmass resort. The defendant, the US Forest Service, disagreed with The Ark Initiative's claims and was supported by Aspen Skiing Co., which intervened in the suit.
The Ark Initiative had sought a preliminary injunction to stop the tree-cutting on a one square mile section of an area within Snowmass' US Forest Service permit boundary. The group claimed that the area was inside a "roadless" area of a US Forest. Areas desiginated as "roadless" cannot be timbered. Unfortunately for the The Ark Initiative (and fortunately for skiers), the US Forest Service passed a rule which excluded areas within Colorado ski area permit boundaries from the designation of "roadless" areas.
Such a designation is both sensible and consistent with the purposes of the "roadless" designation. The designation was meant to apply to areas, "where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man." Clearly a ski area, while technically without roads, is not untrammeled by man.
However, regardless of whether, as Ski, Esq. contends, such a designation makes sense it is the law. Judge Boasberg agreed, writing that, "[it] does not matter whether the Burnt Mountain parcel has the characteristics of a roadless area....The parcel is inside Snowmass Ski Area, so the Colorado Roadless Rule precludes designating it roadless."
In light of the special Colorado Roadless Rule which clearly made The Ark Initiative's claims meritless, a dismissal was appropriate. No pun intended, but given the "clear-cut" nature of the Rule which applied exactly to the situation before the court, The Ark Initiative's claims bordered on frivolous.
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