TAKE ACTION: Stop Purgatory’s Destruction of Lynx Habitat

Purgatory Resort is pushing its expansion dreams by resurrecting the Ice Creek Lift Pod, a regretful proposal that was purposefully dropped from its 2008 Master Development Plan (MDP) due to the concerns of degrading Canada lynx habitat.

Unfortunately, Purgatory is prioritizing its narrow self-interest by pushing to expand into thousands of acres of lynx habitat in the headwaters of East Hermosa Creek, a stream where an extensive reintroduction program for the rare Colorado River cutthroat trout has been underway for decades. 

What’s Happening:

The proposed pod lays north of Purgatory’s current winter and summer sports operations, a spot that is ideal lynx habitat due to its mix of dense spruce forest and shrub-dotted meadows occupied by various prey species.

Research since the agreement between the previous Purgatory owners and Colorado Wild (now Rocky Mountain Wild) to drop the pod from the MDP indicates continued “high habitat use” for the lynx, a threatened species, in this region. The environmental analysis for the ski area expansion fails to present any development alternatives to the Ice Creek Pod.

Part of the habitat that would be lost with the new pod.

Purgatory wants to move their beginner ski operations from the current locale at 8,750 feet to the higher Ice Creek Pod location so they can dodge the increasingly unreliable lower elevation snowpack caused by climate change.

Yet, paradoxically, Purgatory makes no effort to offset their carbon footprint, and dodges any corporate responsibility in mitigating the existential threat of warming temperatures.  Instead, they want to stick their head in the snow regarding climate change and install a new 3,400 foot (2/3 of a mile) lift and obliterate dozens of acres of carbon-sequestering mature spruce tree.

The San Juan National Forest is ‘fast tracking” the environmental review process and appears to be poised to approve whatever is on Purgatory’s wish list. They’re not planning to wait until the US Fish and Wildlife is able to study the proposed development to determine if there might be “adverse effects” on the rare lynx.

Want to learn more about the Ice Creek Pod Proposal? Check out our in-depth blog post on the environmental costs of the proposed project:

Learn More

Personalize Your Comments

Many of us live and recreate around this area- base your comments on your personal experiences for greater impact. All comments must be submitted by Monday, July 6th.

Purgatory operates on the land and the Forest Service controls the permitting, but the lands are our national forest, owned by each one of us.

You must follow the link to make a comment. If you comment on this page, the Forest Service will NOT see it.

MAKE A COMMENT

Talking Points:

We need you to inform the Forest Service that:

  • Ski area expansion does not justify lynx habitat destruction
  • Additional development in the East Hermosa Creek watershed, with its reviving cutthroat trout population, is simply unacceptable
  • The San Juan National Forest must insist on a detailed analysis of climate change consequences by all projects proposed on our national forest, including ski area expansions

Therefore, the Forest Service needs to slow the environmental analysis process to:

  1. Allow consideration of possible ski run development in areas not destructive to lynx and trout habitat
  2. Wait for Fish and Wildlife’s analysis on lynx activity and habitat in the Purgatory area
  3. Require Purgatory to undertake a thorough greenhouse gas/carbon footprint analysis of any development schemes.

Make a comment by following the link below. Remember, the Forest Service WILL NOT see comments on this page.

MAKE A COMMENT

10 Comments

  • jon klingel says:

    sent the following comment:
    Dear Sirs/Madam:

    I am a skiier and backpack on the San Juan National Forest. I also do volunteer trail work on the National Forests with a project scheduled for later this summer on the San Juan National Forest. Wildlife is important to me.
    Ski area development needs to avoid destruction of important wildlife habitat, including lynx and trout habitat. I believe the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on an analysis of lynx activity in the Purgatory area. Any NEPA document needs to include that analysis. Further, ski areas can use a tremendous amount of energy, and produce considerable greenhouse gas which affects our climate. Any NEPA document needs to assess the impacts of greenhouse gases produced.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment,

  • Daniel O'Brien says:

    Do not destroy habitats of the lynx because they are very important to their ecosystems.

  • walter ray davis jr says:

    Please stop this proposal

  • Bob Kuhnert says:

    My comment on forest Service page.

    THE OUTDOOR RECREATION INDUSTRY IS BOOMING, OVER $800 BILLION DOLLARS IN 2019. THIS IS GREAT NEWS ON ONE HAND, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, ALL THIS SUCCESS IS CREATING NEW OUTDOOR ISSUES. ONE OF THOSE BEING SO MANY OF US HUMANS IN THE OUT OF DOORS IS REMOVING AND DISTURBING CRITICAL WILDLIFE HABITAT. RIGHT HERE IN DURAN-GO IN OUR SURROUNDING MOUNTAINS ELK POPULATIONS ARE CONSISTENTLY DROPPING WITH ONE OF THE CAUSES IDENTIFIED BY COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE AS OUTDOOR RECREATION, I.E. ELK CALVING AND BREEDING SEASONS DISTURBED BY THE NUMBERS OF MOUNTAIN BIKERS ON HIKING TRAILS. I’M NOT BLAMING MOUNTAIN BIKERS AS I WAS HIKING MYSELF UP LIME CREEK LATE IN THE DAY ABOUT A MONTH AGO. AND CAME UPON 4 OR 5 ELK GRAZING AT THE TOP OF A MEADOW 300 YDS. AWAY. I FROZE IN THE TRAIL BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO DISTURB THEIR FEEDING TIME, BUT IT WAS TOO LATE. THEY TROTTED OFF INTO THE TIMBER AWAY FROM THE NEW FRESH GRASS THEY HAD BEEN GRAZING UPON, AND THAT WAS JUST ME WALKING SILENTLY ON THE DIRT TRAIL!
    I SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT IF WE ARE TO SUSTAIN AND RECOVER OUR PRECIOUS WILDLIFE, WHICH IS ONE OF THE PRIMARY REASONS PEOPLE VISIT WILDLANDS, WE NEED TO BE VERY CAUTIOUS AND PROCEED WITH ANY CHANGES ONLY AFTER THOROUGH STUDIES HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED.
    PURGATORY IS A WONDERFUL RESORT, HOWEVER, THEY LIKE ALL OUTDOOR RECREATION ORGANIZATION MUST RESPECT AND BE GREAT STEWARD OF WILDLIFE AND WILDLANDS OR WE ALL WILL LOSE AN IRREPLACEABLE AND PRECIOUS RESOURCE.

  • Nancy Carringer says:

    i believe that is part of being human that we do not ignore/overlook the need of our fellow creatures. It is incumbent on us
    that we maintain habitat and suitable conditions for wildlife to prosper. The drive for the almighty dollar threatens the natural
    conditions of our fellow creatures. We must insure that their interests are protected

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