Written by Mark ReamanWednesday, 20 January 2010

Peña allows 45-day extension
A Forest Service officer in California has been assigned the chore of reviewing Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s appeal of the decision to not allow lifts on Snodgrass Mountain.
Deputy Regional Forester from Region 5 in California, Jim Peña, was given the task after Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Rick Cables decided it was best for him not to be directly involved in the Snodgrass appeal process, because of perceived conflicts of interest. CBMR officials and many members of the public believe Cables played a direct role in the November decision by Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Supervisor Charlie Richmond to end the process for evaluating whether to put ski lifts on Snodgrass Mountain.
Last December 18, CBMR filed and the Forest Service accepted an appeal on the Richmond decision. A decision was expected by January 18.
But, one of Peña’s first decisions in the case was to allow a 45-day extension of the review process. So it will be March 3 before a decision on the appeal is likely rendered.
CBMR feels the appeal should have gone straight to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in Washington, D.C. But it was Tidwell who decided to shift the appeal review to Peña.
“Under the Forest Service regulations, if Rick Cables doesn’t take the appeal, the Forest Chief, Tom Tidwell should become the reviewing officer,” emphasized CBMR Vice President of Resort Planning Michael Kraatz.
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