Deadline for comments on Lutsen Mountains expansion is Dec. 9
There are just a few more days for citizens to weigh in on the proposal to allow Lutsen Mountains to expand ski hill operations onto approximately 500 acres of adjacent federal land. The comment period on the U.S. Forest Service environmental study of the proposal ends December 9.
Lutsen Mountains first applied for a special use permit that would allow the resort to expand its existing ski hill operations onto Superior National Forest land in December 2017. Lutsen Mountains is seeking use of approximately 50 acres on what the ski area calls Eagle Mountain, and about 400 acres on Moose Mountain.
Preliminary expansion plans include the construction of seven new chairlifts and one surface lift; development of 324 acres of additional ski terrain; additional guest services, maintenance and ski patrol facilities; additional parking areas and snowmaking operations, including two reservoirs with a combined capacity of 13 million gallons.
As of today, December 7, the Forest Service had received 569 comments. Tofte District Ranger Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak said all of the questions raised in submitted comments – ranging from climate change to increased traffic on Highway 61 – will be considered by the Forest Service before a decision is made on the proposed expansion.
When that decision will be made is not known. Bogardus-Szymaniak said she anticipates a decision late spring 2022, but in November told WTIP, “…It’s fluid. It all depends on the number of comments and how that can all be pulled together.”
Online comments may be submitted until December 9 on this Forest Service comment management page. For further information about this project or questions about commenting, please contact Michael Jimenez, project coordinator, at Michael.Jimenez@usda.gov.
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Past WTIP coverage of this ongoing story can be seen here: Archive
Meetings set for talks on Lutsen Mountains expansion, May 31, 2017
Update on Lutsen Mountains expansion plan, March 17, 2018
County hears update on Lutsen Mountains expansion plans, March 21, 2018
U.S. Forest Service beginning review of Lutsen Mountains expansion request
Forest Service opens public comment period on Lutsen Mountains expansion proposal, September 10, 2021
Variety of concerns about Lutsen Mountains expansion shared during public forum, November 17, 2021