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November 22, 2013
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USFS reviewing Heavenly plan for summer activities

From new hiking and biking trails to zip lines and rope courses, the U.S. Forest Service is reviewing Heavenly Mountain Resort’s proposal to expand its summer recreation activities on national forest land in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Adventure Peak would remain the hub for most activities, but the proposal would extend activities in the East Peak Lake Basin and Sky Meadows Basin, with ski lifts, trails, zip lines and summer roads linking the three activity centers, according to the Forest Service.

“It’s a little bit of everything, part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Discovery program to offer summer on-mountain adventure,” said Sally Gunter, communications manager for Heavenly Mountain Resort. “Our people have been working hard with U.S. Forest Service and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on this proposal. It’s been a great partnership.”

Heavenly Mountain Resort’s proposal follows passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011, federal legislation allowing more year-round recreation at ski resorts on national forest lands.

Two ropes courses, a canopy tour and four zip lines already have been approved and built near Adventure Peak. They open next summer as a first phase of the project, Gunter said.

More zip lines, a sky-cycle canopy tour and a forest-flyer alpine coaster are proposed for the Adventure Peak area, according to a Forest Service notice.

On the sky-cycle canopy tour, visitors would pedal bicycle-like devices suspended from a cable. The tour would take about one hour. The forest-flyer alpine coaster would install about 2,800 feet of raised track through the forest and natural rock formations for visitors to ride down on sleds.

Activities proposed for East Peak Lake Basin include a mountain bike park with about 10 miles of trails; a zip line tour that starts at the top of Big Easy lift and ends with a zip over East Park Lake; water activities including kayaking, canoeing and fishing; an interpretive education center at East Peak Lodge and Deck; and a hiking trail connecting the lodge to the top of the gondola area.

A zip line canopy tour from the top of Tamarack Express lift to the base of Sky Express lift; a ropes course with four to six routes of varying difficulty; and a new observation tower near Ridge Run Overlook are some of the proposals for Sky Meadows Basin.

A mountain excursion tour would have 4x4 vehicles carry visitors between the three activity centers using existing summer roads and parking areas. Resort employees would drive the vehicles and serve as interpretive guides.

Heavenly Mountain Resort is proposing an evacuation route for snowcats to be able to access and evacuate the gondola during emergency situations.

Also proposed are two mountain bike trail connectors. They would be free and open to the public as links to other trails in and around the resort and on surrounding public lands.

One would connect the East Peak mountain bike park to the Tahoe Rim Trail, starting near East Peak Lodge and joining the rim trail near the top of the existing Mott Canyon maintenance road. The second would connect the mountain to Heavenly Village and Van Sickle Bi-State Park.

The Forest Service expects to release its draft environmental impact statement for public comment in August 2014 and finalize the statement in January 2015. Public comments about the scope of the agency’s analysis are due by Friday, Dec. 20.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 22, 2013 06:17PM Published Nov 22, 2013 05:36PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.