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Backcountry skiers monitoring Lookout Pass ski expansion plans

Backcountry skiers enjoy the Stevens Peak area near Lookout Pass in mid April, 2011 (Bob Drzymkowski )
Backcountry skiers enjoy the Stevens Peak area near Lookout Pass in mid April, 2011 (Bob Drzymkowski )

SKIING -- Members of the Stevens Peak Backcountry Coalition are scheduled to meet in Wallace today with snowmobiling representatives.  They plan to discuss ways to prevent conflicts between motorized and  non-motorized users of the winter backcountry around the mountain and winter powder haven near the Montana-Idaho border.

If they can come together on a plan, they'll present it to the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

The coalition also is monitoring proposals to expand Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, another possible degradation to the area's backcountry experience.

The Spokesman-Review published this story in September regarding Lookout's $20 million expansion proposal.

The Shoshone News Press followed in November with  this report.

The Spokesman-Review's ski columnist Bill Jennings posted this story in November.

The Shoshone News Press reported last week that Jennings has been hired by Lookout Pass as its public relations director.   The article quotes Edholm as saying, “Planning for the first phase of a future expansion of the ski area to two additional peaks has been accepted by the U.S. Forest Service.”

The Stevens Peak Backcountry Coalition disagrees: "This is a misleading statement because it implies that the Forest Service has approved the plan already," says a post on the SPBC website. "Actually the NEPA process has not even begun."

The group says it's working to keep the Stevens Peak backcountry including the area south of the St. Regis drainage undeveloped in order to preserve opportunities for backcountry skiing and snowboarding and for snowshoeing.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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