A majority of citizens who submitted comments to the Forest Service regarding the potential for skiing atop Lolo Peak are opposed to the idea, according to an analysis conducted by the Sierra Club.
The results indicate that about 80 percent of the comments were in opposition to the proposed Bitterroot Resort, and of those, 43 percent cited wilderness, roadless and primitive values as the main reason. Twenty percent spoke out in favor of development.
The Forest Service, in response to its revision of the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forest management plans, received nearly 2,000 total letters, 1,014 of which were specific to the future management of the public lands around Lolo Peak.
“It’s very telling,” said Bob Clark of the Sierra Club, “that between these two forests, the future of just 12,000 acres garnered more than half of the comments. It shows the level of interest and concern.”
As Perry Backus of the Missoulian reports, Bitterroot Resort Chief Executive Officer Jim McGill said he wasn’t surprised by the comments. “We’ve found that it’s usually the people who are opposed to a project who voice their opinions,” Gill told the Missoulian.
Forest Service officials are now reviewing the comments as they develop final management plans, which will be released in the spring and followed by a 30-day comment period.
“The results of the comment analysis are what they are, ” said Clark. “There isn’t any bias.”