Forest plan stops ski area

It seems to be a little-known benefit of forest plans, but they can be used to support decisions to turn down requests for special use permits.  The high profile case of a proposed Lolo Peak ski resort near Missoula made it to district court, where Judge Molloy upheld the Forest Service decision to reject the proponent plaintiffs’ request.  The process for initial screening of a proposal requires a finding that it would be consistent with the forest plan.  In this case, the court reviewed the forest plan direction for the area proposed for development and found that the Forest Service was not arbitrary in finding that a ski area would not meet the goals and standards of the various management areas.  It didn’t help that the developer had already built ski runs on the private land, and photographs of them were used to demonstrate how the ski area would not meet visual quality requirements in the forest plan.   (This is what I see across the valley every time I drive into town.)

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