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vail road

Vail Resorts’ efforts to develop the Category III area continue to run into environmental roadblocks, with the latest setback being a road going in the wrong direction. The mistake could result in millions of dollars worth of fines. The temporary logging road, which Vail Resorts was ordered to build by the U.S. Forest Service, has been in existence for more than a year. However, it was only last month that it was discovered the road was built in the wrong place and was dumping sediment into a protected wetlands area. Fines under the Clean Water Act could be up to $27,500 per day since the road was built. Vail Resorts will also have to pay for damages to the wetlands. Meanwhile, the road is closed and Vail Resorts is left with no way to remove more than a million board-feet of cut timber. The trees may have to be burned on site, which would eliminate the need for the logging road. Vail Resorts has spent more than a decade trying to win approval of the Category III expansion, which was finally granted last year. Environmental groups repeatedly challenged the plan, both on-site and in the courts, claiming the development would destroy vital habitat for the endangered Canadian lynx. Last fall the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for an arson attack which caused $12 million in damages on Vail Mountain, destroying buildings and lifts. The Earth Liberation Front cited the Category III expansion and its threat to the lynx as justification for the arson. Vail Resorts still hopes to have the Category III expansion open for skiing by the 2000-2001 season.