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.