Vail Mountain has been cleared to construct zip lines, a ropes course, expanded trails, and interpretive kiosks intended to convert the ski area into an interactive children’s museum after the snow melts in 2016, according to the Denver Post. Following a two-year environmental study, the U.S. Forest Service has published a final decision indicating no clear problems with the proposed $25 million summer recreation plan at the Colorado mountain resort.
“We are grateful for our continued partnership with the U.S. Forest Service leading to this positive change that will benefit our economy and our mountains,” Vail Mountain COO Chris Jarnot said in a statement to the Post.
The decision comes three years after the passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, a bill introduced by Senator Mark Udall of Colorado as part of an effort to boost local economies around Vail during the warmer months. In 2012, Vail CEO Robert Katz responded with an enthusiastic proposal for investment at the company’s Vail, Breckenridge, and Lake Tahoe properties called Epic Discovery.
“We believe we can create an experience on our mountain resorts inside the National Forest that is more fun and more engaging with more educational opportunities than what you see in the National Park System,” Katz told the Post. “It’s almost like creating a huge interactive children’s museum, but up on the mountain.”
In an effort to buttress the plan’s scientific and educational aspects, Vail has recruited help from the Nature Conservancy, which has been promised one percent of ticket sales to fund the organization’s restoration work on National Forest lands.