The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced it is taking comments on the plan to open its ski areas to other recreational activities. Despite the government shutdown, USFS put out the announcement on Wednesday, Oct. 2. You can read it at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-10-02/html/2013-23998.htm.
USFS is revising its guidelines for ski areas to comply with the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act passed in 2011. For background, see the stories linked to below.
USFS' proposed directive would give national forest managers more criteria to consider when determining what activities can take place in designated ski areas. Traditionally, only downhill skiing was allowed. The proposed guidelines would allow activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing by people who wouldn't have to pay fees. During the off-season, activities could include anything from mountain biking to ziplining.
The guidelines would also clarify policies regarding advertising contractors in national forests could do.
The public can send comments on the proposed guidelines until Dec. 2.
The rules would affect the 122 ski areas in national forests.