File Code: 1570 Date: November 19, 2012

Rocky Smith 1030 Pearl #9 Denver, CO 80203 Dear Mr. Smith, On October 5, 2012, you filed a Notice of Appeal (NOA) as the lead appellant on an August 15, 2012, decision by White River Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams to approve an expansion of the Breckenridge Ski Area onto Peak 6. Your appeal was timely and 48 individuals and organizations have standing to appeal as co-appellants. Pursuant to 36 CFR 215.17 an attempt was made to seek informal resolution of the appeal. The record indicates that informal resolution was not reached.

My review of this appeal was conducted in accordance with 36 CFR 215.18 - formal review and disposition procedures. I have reviewed the appeal record, including your written NOA, the Record of Decision (ROD), Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and supporting documentation. I weighed the recommendation from the Appeal Reviewing Officer and incorporated it into this decision. A copy of the Appeal Reviewing Officer’s recommendation is enclosed. This letter constitutes my decision on the appeal and on the specific relief requested. ACTION BEING APPEALED The August 15 decision allows Vail Resorts, operator of the Breckenridge Ski Area, to provide access to approximately 550 additional acres by constructing two ski lifts, a ski patrol/warming hut and a restroom facility. It allows construction of seven below-treeline trails, totaling approximately 68 acres, on terrain known as Peak 6 north of the existing special use permit area. Lift-served, above-timberline terrain will provide approximately 339 additional acres of Intermediate, Advanced-Intermediate, and Expert skiing. Of this total, approximately 235 acres will be lift-served by the new Peak 6 lifts, and 104 new added acres will be lift-served by accessing the existing Imperial Express SuperChair.

The decision also includes a site-specific amendment to lynx direction in the White River Forest Plan. APPEAL REVIEWING OFFICER’S FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION Appeal Reviewing Officer Scott Armentrout, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Supervisor, found that: Documentation in the record demonstrated compliance with applicable laws, regulations and policies in light of the appeal issues raised by the appellant: • The project would harm lynx which violates the Endangered Species Act and the National Forest Management Act. • The approval of the project violates NEPA and fails to meet the purpose and need. • The project violates Forest Plan direction on scenery. • The FEIS does not adequately evaluate the loss of backcountry skiing or the location where backcountry access gates might be located.

ARO Armentrout recommended affirmation of the Forest Supervisor’s decision on all issues and to deny requested relief. The requested relief involved: • The Record of Decision for the Peak 6 Expansion must be rescinded. • If any expansion or upgrade of the ski area terrain and/or facilities is pursued, it must be designed and operated so as not to cause any adverse impact to lynx or its habitat. • The EIS must fully consider at least one alternative that would meet the purpose and need without installing any new lifts or cutting new runs. A new draft EIS containing an analysis of this (these) alternative(s) must be issued for public comment if any expansion of the footprint of Breckenridge Ski Area is pursued. • Any approved project must substantially meet the purpose and need. All black diamond and expert terrain in the Peak 6 area must not be part of any expansion. • Any approved project must comply with the Forest Plan’s guidelines on scenery. APPEAL DECISION

I agree with the ARO’s analysis as presented in the enclosed letter. All appeal issues raised have been considered and the record is adequate to support the Forest Supervisor’s decision. I affirm the Forest Supervisor’s decision to approve the Breckenridge Ski Area Peak 6 Project. I deny requested relief to set aside the decision or complete additional analysis. The project may be implemented on, but not before, the 15th business day following the date of this letter (36 CFR 215.9(b)). My decision constitutes the final administrative determination of the Department of Agriculture (36 CFR 215.18(c)). Sincerely,

/s/ Brian Ferebee BRIAN FEREBEE Deputy Regional Forester, Resources

cc: Scott Fitzwilliams