April 2, 2005
VAIL -The U.S. Forest Service wants to proceed with a land swap that will end up protecting a pristine wetlands south of Eagle and will allow Vail's $75 million Front Door project to move ahead.
The Forest Service Tuesday released an environmental assessment of the land exchange that will see the agency give up 5.13 acres of public land slopeside to Vail's Bridge Street that Vail Resorts wants for a new entry point to the mountain. In exchange, the ski company will give up 475 acres it owns at Vassar Meadows south of Eagle and 136 acres it owns north of Minturn.
The swap, known officially as the South Game Creek Exchange, could be completed by early summer Forest Service officials said.
The exchange has been widely lauded because it protects Vassar Meadows and its huge, water-purifying wetlands near Yeoman Park and provides protection to the land near Game Creek north of Minturn. Both parcels contain valuable wildlife habitat.
The Vail Mountain parcel is being used for skiing and resort-related activities by Vail Resorts under a special-use permit.
The land swap between Vail Resorts and the U.S. Forest Service will allow Vail Resorts to build a new entry point at the base of Vail Mountain near the Vista Bahn.
Preston Utley/Vail Daily