Environmentalists Keep an Eye on Mark Udall and the Wilderness Bill

March 17 2009, 9:14 AM
udall-mark_standing-outdoorsU.S. Senator Mark Udall introduced a bill yesterday that would let ski areas offer year-round recreation on the lands they lease from the federal government. It could mean more activities, such as mountain biking and alpine slides, in the backcountry, triggering the ire of environmentalists, according to The Associated Press. The bill would expand activities on 125 ski areas around the nation that use Forest Service land in a move that environmentalists fear could lead to urban-style amusement parks in the mountains, such as Vail Resorts' proposed "alpine coaster." As that dispute unfolds, the Senate is also poised to set aside more than 2 million acres of wilderness--the government's highest level of protection--writes The Washington Post, which includes Rocky Mountain National Park. As for ski resorts, they are offering discounts and deals to bring in the masses during the recession, according to this AP article. Skier visits are down nearly 6 percent from last year at 22 Colorado Ski Country USA resorts.