Good news for Crystal Mountain

After years of anticipation, Crystal Mountain has received tentative approval for expansion plans that would significantly upgrade the facility east of Enumclaw.

Crystal Mountain received the Record of Decision late last week from the U.S. Forest Service for its long-awaited Master Development Plan. The ROD follows an in-depth review of the Draft Environmental Impact Study issued August 2001.

John Phipps, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest supervisor, selected "alternative six" with modifications from the Final Environmental Impact Study, concluding a seven-year effort of analyzing various alternatives to the proposed Master Development Plan. Basically, it approves new facilities at Crystal Mountain including a tram to the summit, a new chairlift in the North Country, a hotel, existing chairlift upgrades, base facility renovations, employee housing and wastewater facilities.

If nothing arises during the appeal period, implementation of Phase One would start immediately, with construction expected to start the summer of 2005. Phase One consists of the Northway chairlift, an aerial tramway to a new Summit House restaurant, and trail and parking lot work.

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