The Middle Boulder Creek Coalition announces its opposition to the proposed expansion of Eldora Mountain Resort down towards Middle Boulder Creek and Hessie. This expansion will have adverse impacts to the ecology of the land and water, impair the experience of snowshoers and cross-country skiers accessing the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and increase the noise of snowmaking for the community of Eldora.
Eldora Mountain Resort (Eldora Ski Area) is proposing to expand outside their current permitted boundary. Their updated Master Development Plan was recently accepted by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest, allowing for the submittal of more detailed environmental information and a public review. As depicted in the Master Development Plan, the vast majority of the expansion would occur on the north side of the ski area, in the area below the existing Corona and Indian Peaks lifts. Approximately seven new runs and two new lifts are proposed for construction between the existing lifts and Middle Boulder Creek.
Through the creation of ski runs the proposed expansion would heavily fragment a steep north-facing hillside that currently is densely forested with no roads and virtually no trails. It is used as a landscape linkage by wildlife, being positioned between the existing ski area and a major entrance for people into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This area is adjacent to Middle Boulder Creek, which supports a healthy riparian ecosystem complete with extensive beaver pond wetlands. Wetlands, springs and rivulets are found on the hillside. Moose reside there. Boreal owls, three-toed woodpeckers and American martens are present. Black bears forage on the berry producing shrubs along the creek and under the dense forest, while mink have been seen along the creek. As lynx expand their range in Colorado, there is suitable habitat for migration as well as finding their favorite food, snowshoe hare.
Bringing ski runs, lifts and snowmaking down to the bottom of the valley will also change the experience for cross-country skiers and snowshoers using the Fourth of July road and Hessie to access the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The acoustic and visual experience will be different as the sight and sounds (lifts and snowmaking) of downhill skiing will be within 150 feet. This is incompatible with a major entry into the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
The Middle Boulder Creek Coalition is a group of concerned citizens and organizations that feel the ski area can better meet its objectives of increasing intermediate terrain, provide faster and more wind resistant lifts, and supply better skier services within the current permit boundary and not negatively impact the wildlife along Middle Boulder Creek or the experience of people accessing the Indian Peaks Wilderness.