The draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, for proposed expansions on Grand Targhee is now expected to come out in late spring of 2022, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest announced this week.
The purpose of the EIS is to assess the possible impacts of proposed expansion and infrastructure upgrades on public land at Grand Targhee. The proposals being weighed include mountain-top restaurants, new lifts and trails, enhanced snow-making capabilities, and expanded resort boundaries. The process began with a public comment period in fall of 2020 and garnered significant attention from the community, public agencies, nonprofits, and local government.
The release date for the draft EIS has been pushed back several times.
“Due to the complexity of the project and all its moving parts, the Draft EIS document has been delayed,” said Jay Pence, Teton Basin District Ranger, in a press release from CTNF. “There is a significant amount of speculation and rumors swirling around this proposal and we urge the public to be patient as we complete our NEPA process. The draft document, which we anticipate being available in late April, is the next opportunity for the public to review specific details of the proposal and provide feedback.”
On the project website, the news page includes information about some modifications that have been made to the original proposal:
n Removing the proposed South Bowl East and South Bowl Connector lifts;
n Reducing the proposed South Bowl Special Use Permit adjustment area from 600 acres to 266 acres;
n Shortening the proposed Shoshone lift upgrade alignment;
n Removing two proposed carpet lifts and associated ski terrain;
n Adding a proposed ski patrol facility at the top of the proposed South Bowl lift;
n Replacing the Dreamcatcher lift with a six pack “chondola” (a detachable six-pack/gondola chairlift) to service the proposed restaurant at the top of Fred’s Mountain
n Clarifying various road and utility areas.
According to the CTNF, the draft EIS will present five alternatives to be analyzed:
n No action;
n Modified (as explained above) proposed projects within the existing Special Use Permit area only;
n Proposed projects within the existing SUP as well as expansion in Mono Trees and South Bowl;
n Proposed projects within the existing SUP and South Bowl expansion;
n Proposed projects within the existing SUP and Mono Trees expansion.
The alternatives will be described in greater detail in the draft EIS. Once the document is released, the public will have a minimum of 90 days to provide comments on the analysis and findings.
In the meantime, on Dec. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m., the Teton County, Idaho, Board of Commissioners will host a town hall with a presentation on the proposed expansion. More information and a Zoom link will be posted at tetoncountyidaho.gov.