Summer recreation in Dodge’s future?

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

The U.S. Forest Service finalized new policy guidelines Tuesday that will allow ski areas operating on national forest land, such as Dodge Ridge Wintersports Area and Bear Valley Ski Resort, to offer recreational activities in the summer.

The changes will take effect this week immediately after they are published in the Federal Register, according to a Forest Service statement announcing the new directives.

Agency administrators will use these guidelines to determine whether a ski area is allowed to operate specifically outlined summer activities, which include zip lining, mountain biking and disc golfing.

"Everyone benefits" by ski areas partnering with the Forest Service to offer year-round opportunities, said Bear Valley spokeswoman Rosie Sundell.

"Bringing summer recreation to ski areas is a great idea. It's beautiful, the views are great and we have the infrastructure already in place," she said. "(The resort) certainly has a significant impact on the local economy during winter, so it would be great for the whole community if we can have that impact during summer."

The revised policy was spurred by the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011, which specifically added zip lines, mountain bike terrain parks and trails, disc golf courses and rope courses to the list of activities that ski areas are allowed to operate on national forest land.

For the complete story, see the April 16, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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