Balancing environmental concerns related to wilderness areas with thoughtful ski resort development to serve a wide spectrum of interests and abilities can raise significant challenges to reaching an outcome supported by all interested parties.
With guidance from WilmerHale Partner Andrew Spielman and Counsel Bonnie Heiple, firm client Eldora and its parent company, POWDR, recently reached a historic agreement following two years of negotiations with key stakeholders. The agreement, which will guide thoughtful development that protects significant resources and habitat in the region, is a win for the resort, the surrounding community and the environment.
A statement of principles signed by Eldora; Boulder County, Colorado; the Middle Boulder Creek Coalition; and the Sierra Club Indian Peaks Group, will not only preserve the ski resort as Boulder County's quintessential playground, it will also guide conservation and preservation in and around Eldora, including in the Middle Boulder Creek watershed. The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners reviewed and approved the agreement at a public hearing on December 18, 2017.
“Our vision to protect and enhance Eldora as a community asset is undoubtedly stronger today because of this partnership and the resulting Statement of Principles,” said Brent Tregaskis, Eldora's president and general manager.
The collaboration between the resort and stakeholders representing local and environmental interests that was memorialized in the agreement began at the direction of the US Forest Service, and evolved into a true partnership as the parties learned more about each other's objectives and worked side-by-side on creative approaches to address them. The resulting statement of principles both memorializes those concepts, and provides a framework for continued dialogue.
“We are proud to have helped our longstanding client reach this important agreement with important stakeholders in its community,” Spielman says.
Heiple notes: “The agreement is a model for other ski areas in the region and nationwide that are facing tensions between environmental considerations and the need to compete and provide an optimal experience to their visitors.”