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Residents concerned proposed Deer Valley expansion lift is in ‘crucial’ wildlife habitat

The site plan for the proposed lift.
Park City Municipal
The site plan for the proposed lift.

The Park City Planning Commission is reviewing Deer Valley’s plan to build a new six-pack bubble chairlift on Park Peak. Some question if the resort’s project would harm local wildlife.

The proposed lift is around 9,000 feet in elevation in a project area identified as a “crucial” wildlife habitat by the Utah Department of Natural Resources. The DNR says several species, including moose, rocky mountain elk, and mule deer, make their home there.

The lift, about a half-mile in length, would connect the existing Ontario and Trump runs southeast to Park Peak, where Deer Valley wants to build a new lodge and gondola connection. It’s part of the resort’s major expansion into Wasatch County.

Park City Municipal

Park City resident Jennifer Prechtel, who has worked in wildlife conservation, said the planning commission should deny the resort a building permit because of the existing habitat.

“What this means is that there are no alternative habitats in the area for these species to go,” Prechtel said. “Development can never be undone, and as a direct consequence, these animals will disappear from Park City forever… At what expense are we going to continue developing?”

In a statement to KPCW, a spokesperson for Deer Valley said: "Similar to the natural flow of our resort environment, these species retain their ability to move and migrate through the area, as our lift infrastructure and ski runs do not impose barriers on the landscape. We are committed to maintaining our role as responsible stewards of the mountain environment, a commitment we have upheld for over 40 years."

Members of the planning commission are touring the project area Monday at 2 p.m. The site visit is open to the public and will involve skiing. The meet up will be on the west side of the Sterling lift in Silver Lake.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the lift application at its meeting April 24.

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