For the past several years, the Town of Alta has been the primary manager of summertime visitation to Albion Basin. In 2018, Alta Ski Area will assume a new role in managing summer visitation, and it will administer a program that could include traffic management on the Albion Basin Summer Road, a per-vehicle fee to drive up the Summer Road, and operation of Sunnyside Lift. Below is the text from an email from USFS Salt Lake Ranger District Ranger Bekee Hotzee describing the US Forest Service’s rationale for approving this new direction,
The current popularity of Albion Basin and projected increases in area population and tourism are contributing to increasing concern about user demand with regard to sustainable visitation levels, recreation, transportation and natural resource protection. In response, the Albion Basin Transportation Feasibility Study was completed in 2011 to develop an understanding of baseline conditions through detailed data collection efforts and preliminary resource analysis, as well as to develop a range of summer season recreation and transportation alternatives for Albion Basin that aim to protect resources and distribute visitors in a sustainable manner.
In response to the results of the Feasibility Study, the Forest Service will implement a pilot solution during the summer of 2018 in which Alta Ski Lifts will take over management of Albion Basin under their current Special Use Term Permit. Alta Ski Lifts will manage visitor services, including traffic management, and maintain roads, trails, trailheads and trailhead facilities as part of their summer operations. Alta Ski Lifts will charge a reasonable fee for services provided including maintenance of roads, trails, parking lots restroom facilities, chair lift rides and or shuttle services.
No timeframe or specific criteria has been defined for evaluating the pilot. Goals for this pilot are to see improvement over current conditions in Albion Basin. The Forest Service will observe and adapt based on how things go.
Please note that this is an administrative change rather than a project with environmental consequences that can be meaningfully evaluated and is therefore not subject to further analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As a result, no official comment period will be provided however comments are welcome at any time.
To comment on this proposal, email the USFS Salt Lake Ranger District at firstname.lastname@example.org.