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Forest Service, ski club working together

 

The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Bitterroot Cross Country Ski Club are relying on their long-standing partnership to address issues raised from an anonymous complaint that have recently surfaced regarding the management of the Chief Joseph Cross-Country Ski area.

Over many years the Club has worked in partnership with the Forest Service to provide winter recreation opportunities in this area through volunteer work on ski trails, grooming efforts, and the establishment of the Cabin that serves as a public warming hut in the winter and a Forest Service rental in summer months. This partnership has allowed thousands of visitors each ski season to safely enjoy some of Montana’s best cross-country skiing and the related amenities in the area of Chief Joseph Pass. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge does not have the people or financial resources to provide these opportunities without the value the Club brings to the table.

Issues relating to hosting of the Cabin and fundraising will be addressed by the Club and the Forest Service. The Club has assigned a small committee to work with the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest leadership in exploring options and finding mutually-acceptable solutions on how best to partner in maintaining the groomed ski trail system and warming cabin opportunities. Some changes are expected. Our focus is on maintaining and enhancing the benefits the public receives by the continuing volunteer efforts of the Club. In the meantime, the Club and the Forest Service are continuing to provide groomed trails and customer service at the Cabin for the remainder of current winter ski season.

This is an ongoing effort. It will require patience and understanding on the part of everyone involved as we collectively work toward a solution. We are confident that an equitable solution will be found and solidified before the beginning of the next ski season.

Dave Myers, Supervisor, Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest

Michael Hoyt, President, Bitterroot Cross Country Ski Club

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